Who resisted and campaigned for abolition?

Token, We Are All Brethren

Designed by John Phillip, engraved by GF Pidgeon, made by the Soho Mint, Birmingham, about 1814

Object number 1993.371.99
Purchased as part of the James Klugmann Collection from the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1992

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Token, We Are All Brethren

These tokens are dated 1807, the date of abolition of the slave trade in Britain and its colonies. However, they were actually made about 1814 and again in about 1830-50 for use as coinage in the Sierra Leone colony of Freetown.

They were commissioned by Zachary Macaulay, a former Governor of Freetown and member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Freetown was founded in 1787, as a philanthropic venture by the Sierra Leone Company. It was intended to provide an African homeland for formerly enslaved Africans, many of whom had fought for the British in the American War of Independence. After the company was dissolved in 1808, Macaulay took up the company on his own and traded with other parts of west Africa. He was later joined by his nephew, Kenneth Macaulay, son of Leicester MP Thomas Babbington, a founder member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

The text on the reverse of the token is in Arabic, and translates as 'Sale of slaves prohibited in 1807, Christian era, in the reign of George III: verily, we are all brothers'. The Arabic text was possibly included as the Arab slave trade continued long after British abolition. This token may have been seen as a way of spreading the abolitionist message.

This information was provided by curators from the People's History Museum.