James Montgomery (1771-1854)
A signed manuscript fair copy of the hymn "A Prayer for Every Day”
Ink on paper, signed and dated Sep 9 1839
19 cm x 11 cm
The Horner Galleries, Sheffield
An interesting manuscript 'Fair Copy' of Montgomery's hymn "A Prayer for Every Day”.
Montgomery was a journalist and reformer who championed various humanitarian causes: he was an abolitionist and one of the main campaigners against the practice of using children as chimney-sweeps. He was brought up in the Moravian Church, his parents died when he was young and he began his working life as an apprentice baker before starting work as an assistant to the publisher of the radical newspaper the Sheffield Register. After the proprietor fled to avoid prosecution Montgomery took over the publication, renaming it the Sheffield Iris. He himself spent time in York Castle prison on charges of sedition for writing a celebration of the fall of the Bastille and again in 1796 for malicious libel for publishing a condemnation of the suppression of a protest in Sheffield by the local militia which had resulted in two deaths.
He is considered one of the finest hymn writers of his generation although he is generally now better-known in the USA. His most celebrated lyrics are probably "Angels from the Realms of Glory".