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Unusual SuspectsPitt's Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s$
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Kenneth R. Johnston

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 May 2021

The Radical Moravian

The Radical Moravian

James Montgomery (1771–1854)

(p.64) 4 The Radical Moravian
Unusual Suspects

Kenneth R. Johnston

Oxford University Press

James Montgomery is known to history as a prolific writer of church hymns. In his young manhood, he was a liberal newspaper editor and poet in Sheffield. Encouraged by the radical Joseph Gales, who absconded to America to avoid prosecution, Montgomery took over Gales’s newspaper, the Register. In the mid-1790s, Montgomery was twice arrested, tried, and imprisoned for publishing items which packed juries found seditious. These experiences led Montgomery to moderate his liberalism, withdraw from newspaper publishing, and return to the Moravian religiosity of his youth. He said he had learned the necessity of being hypocritical. He sought to suppress all copies of his collection of satirical essays, The Whisperer, pseudonymously authored by ‘Gabriel Silvertongue.’ After his retreat from active politics he became a benefactor of public and religious good works in Sheffield, and continued to write poems, which Coleridge and Byron admired, on safer liberal subjects, such as the abolition of the slave trade.

Keywords:   James Montgomery. Joseph Gales. Christian radicalism. Newspapers. Government intimidation. Gabriel Silvertongue. Censorship

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