Zachary Macaulay

Zachary Macaulay, slavery abolitionist, was born in Inverary, Scotland, on 2nd May 1768. He was a son of John Macaulay (d.1789) and his second wife Margaret. In 1799 he married Selina Mills and they had nine children. He was a member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (later the African Institution) and was a leading figure in the campaign together with Wilberforce and Clarkson. He died on 13th May 1838 and is buried in Mecklenburgh Square in London. A life size bust, by Henry Weekes (1842), was erected in the north west tower chapel in the nave of the Abbey. The inscription on the pedestal was composed by Sir James Stephen:

In grateful remembrance of Zachary Macaulay, who, during a protracted life, with an intense but quiet perseverance which no success could relax, no reverse could subdue, no toil, privation, or reproach could daunt, devoted his time, talents, fortune, and all the energies of his mind and body to the service of the most injured and helpless of mankind: and who partook for more than forty successive years, in the counsels and in the labours which guided and blest by God first rescued the British Empire from the guilt of the slave trade; and finally conferred freedom on eight hundred thousand slaves; This tablet is erected by those who drew wisdom from his mind, and a lesson from his life, and who now humbly rejoice in the assurance, that through the Divine Redeemer, the foundation of all his hopes, he shares in the happiness of those who rest from their labours, and whose works do follow them. He was born at Inverary, N.B. [North Britain] on the 2 May 1768: and died in London on the 13 May 1838.

Just under the bust is a medallion with the kneeling figure of a slave inscribed "Am I not a man and a brother".

Further Reading

His eldest son Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), poet and writer, is buried in Poets' Corner and has a memorial bust there

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


2nd May 1768


13th May 1838


Statesman; abolitionist



Memorial Type


Zachary Macaulay
Zachary Macaulay memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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