Written by Minister James Rathman
One of the men who fought to end slavery in Jamaica, Zachary Macaulay, born in 1768 in Scotland, has been honored with a memorial plaque in St. George's Gardens in London. Two-hundred and fifty years after his birth, Zachary, having been raised in the town of Inveraray on the western shore of Loch Fyne, was posthumously awarded for his valiant efforts in the face of much adversary.
Zachary spent much of his youth drinking after getting a job in a merchant's office in Glasgow.
At the age of 16, Mr. Macaulay departed Scotland and was destined for Jamaica, where he would become a foreman at a sugar plantation. It was here that he was first introduced to the harsh realities of slavery.
In the late 1780's, Zachary returned to Great Britain where he resided with his sister Jean, and her husband, Thomas Babington. Thomas was an evangelical Christian. Although Macaulay had been raised in a church environment in his home, it was his brother-in-law, Babington, who brought the young Scottish man to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Zachary was introduced to some of Babington's friends, including Thomas Gisbourne and William Wilberforce. These two Christians were part of the members and congregation of the Clapham Sect campaigning to end slavery. The experience in which Zachary had while working on a plantation proved to be invaluable to the group's ambitions. They then invited him for a mission trip to Sierra Leone, where they planned to produce a safe location for freed slaves.
In 1794 and at the age of 26, Zachary became Sierra Leone's Governor. He worked hard in the face of much hardship and difficulties to keep the colony alive, including the misfortune of spending some time as a French prisoner.
Eventually, when Macaulay returned to England, he took a far reaching detour through Jamaica on a slave ship to personally experience the unforgiving conditions. Upon his return to England, he facilitated his strong memory of his first-hand experiences into trying to support abolitionists during parliamentary inquiries pertaining to slavery.
One journalist commented: "Macaulay supplied the statistics and facts for every single speech made in the House of Commons and the House of Lords during the decade it took to see the abolition of slavery across the empire."
Zachary's biographer, Dr. Lain Whyte, remarked: "He collected the material and Wilberforce used it. I would have to say strongly that it would have taken longer to abolish slavery but for the campaigning of people like Zachary."
The Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed in 1807, and Macaulay spent many years fighting to enforce that law. The dynamic Christian in who was Zachary, died in 1838, five years after a Parliament finally voted to abolish slavery in all of the British territories.