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Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838)

Zachary Macaulay was born at Inverary in Scotland, the son of a Church of Scotland minister. At the age of sixteen, he went to Jamaica to work as a bookkeeper and quickly rose to the position of manager of a plantation. However he became so disgusted by slavery that he returned to Britain in 1792 and a year later went to Sierra Leone to assist Thomas Clarkson whom he replaced after a short while as governor. Macauley was in charge of the colony for six years and despite many problems and the threat of invasion, it prospered under his supervision. He returned home after his health broke down and became secretary of the Sierra Leone Company until the colony's transfer to the Crown.

Macauley was one of the foremost abolitionists of his day. His chief strengths lay in his immense energy, powers of organisation and encyclopedic knowledge of statistics. He was a member of several committees and served as secretary of the African Institute from 1807 to 1812. Macauley was also a founder member of the Anti-Slavery Society and was honorary president of the French Society for the Abolition of Slavery.

A devout evangelical, Macauley was the first editor of the Christian Observer and was actively involved in the work of no fewer than twenty-three charitable and religious societies including the Church Missionary Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society. He also had a keen interest in education and served on the founding committee of London University.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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