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 >
To God most awful and most high. J. Montgomery. [In time of Scarcity.] Written for the laying of the foundation stone of a Corn Mill at Sheffield, on Nov. 5, 1795, which was "built for the common use and benefit of the people." It was printed in Montgomery's Sheffield Iris newspaper the same day, and signed "Paul Positive," a nom de plume of the author. It subsequently appeared in Cotterill's Selection, 1819, No. 260; Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 532; and his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 276. In the last two it is headed, "The poor praying for bread in the time of scarcity," It is found in a few modern hymnbooks.