MONTGOMERY, JAMES (1771-1851), poet and journalist, was justly described by Lord Byron, in a footnote to English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, as "a man of considerable genius," though it was going far beyond the mark to speak of his Wanderer of Switzerland (his first notable poem, published in 1806) as being worth a thousand "Lyrical Ballads." Montgomery was born 4th November 1771, at Irvine in Ayrshire, Scotland. Part of his boyhood was spent in Ireland, but he received his education in Yorkshire, at the Moravian school of Fulneck, named after the original home of the Moravians, to which sect his father belonged. He drifted at an early age into journalism, and edited the Sheffield Iris for more than thirty years. When he began his career the position of a Dissenting journalist was a difficult one, and he twice suffered imprisonment (in 1795 and 1796) on charges that now seem absurdly forced and unfair. His Wanderer was mercilessly ridiculed by the Edinburgh Review, but in spite of this Montgomery published many poems, which had a wide popularity : - The West Indies, 1810; The World Before the Flood, 1812 ; Greenland, 1819; Songs of Zion, 1822 ; The Pelican Island, 1827. On account of the religious character of his poetry, he is sometimes confounded with Robert Montgomery, very much to the injustice of his reputation. The inspiring force of James Montgomery's poetry was the humanitarian sentiment which has been such a power in the political changes of this century, and the pulse of this sentiment is nowhere felt beating more strongly than in his verse. His poetry has thus an historical interest altogether apart from its intrinsic value as poetry. But this value is far from contemptible or commonplace. Strictly speaking, Montgomery was more of a rhetorician than a poet, but his imagination was bold, ardent, and fertile, and more than one of his greater contemporaries owed occasional debts to his vigorous invention and even to his casual felicities of diction, while sonic passages from his poems keep a place in the literature that is universally read and quoted. At the close of his career as a journalist, when all parties agreed in paying him respect, he claimed for his poetry that it was at least not imitative, and the claim was just as regarded conception and choice of subjects ; but as regards diction and imagery the influence of Campbell is very apparent in his earlier poems, and the influence of Shelley is supreme in the Pelican, Island, his last and best work as a poet. His Lectures on Poetry and General Literature, published in 1833, show considerable breadth of sympathy and power of expression. Memoirs of him were published in seven volumes in 1856-8. They furnish valuable materials for the history of English provincial politics in the 19th century. He died at Sheffield 30th April 1854.