James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
Friend after friend departs. J. Mont¬gomery. [Death and the Hereafter.] In Montgomery's Poetical Works, 1841, vol. iii. p. 182, he has dated this poem 1824. It was published in his Pelican Island and Other Poems, 1827; and in his Poetical Works, 1828 and 1841, but was not given in the first copies of his Original Hymns, 1853. In later copies of the same year it replaced a cancelled hymn (“This shall be the children's cry"), but was omitted from the Index. It is in common use in Great Britain and America. Original text in Dr. Hatfield's Church Hymn Book, N. Y., 1872.