Conder tokens

Conder tokens were a form of privately minted token coinage used during the latter part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century.

The need for token coinage was the shortage of small denomination coins required for everyday transactions including payment of workers' wages. With the failure of government to address this shortage, private business owners and merchants took matters into their own hands, and by 1795 millions of tokens with thousands of various designs had been struck and were in common use throughout Great Britain.

Various such conder tokens were minted to celebrate the acquittal of those charged in the Treason Trials of 1794 and the importance of Trial by Jury.
1794 Treason Trials

The 1794 treason trials formed part of a government campaign to destroy the remnants of 17th century British radical democracy that had enjoyed a resurgence in the wake of the American and French Revolutions. To this purpose William Pitt’s government arrested more than thirty leading radicals, including John Thelwall, Thomas Holcroft, John Horne Tooke, Thomas Hardy, and Thomas Spence. Reform organisations such as the London Corresponding Society and the Society for Constitutional Information had rapidly increased their membership in the early 1790s. The government responded firstly with the sedition trials of Thomas Paine, John Frost and Daniel Isaac Eaton in 1792–3, and then with the treason trials of 1794.

On 12 May 1794 several leading radicals were arrested. Following an examination of papers seized during the arrests, the government moved to suspend habeas corpus on 23 May. As a result, the men arrested on suspicion of treason could be held without charge until the spring of 1795.

Initially, the men were held in the Tower of London before being moved to Newgate Prison. After several months, a number of those arrested were formally charged with treason. If convicted they could be hanged, drawn and quartered.

The trial of Thomas Hardy, Secretary of the London Corresponding Society, began on 28 October. After a nine-day trial he was acquitted and released. Two further trials of John Horne Tooke and John Thelwall also resulted in acquittals and as a result all of the other cases were dismissed including that against the author John Baxter.

John WILKES Member for Middlesex - May True Britons Enjoy Liberty and Property Without Oppression

D.I. EATON - Three Times Acquitted of Sedition

Thomas SPENCE - Pig's Meat

Thomas SPENCE - Fox and Pitt

ERSKINE and GIBBS and Trial by Jury - Magna Carta and Bill of Rights

Thomas HARDY - Not Guilty by the Integrity of his Jury Who are Judges of Law as Well as Fact

Thomas HARDY - Acquitted by his Jury

John HORNE TOOKE - Not Guilty say the Jury Equal Judges of Law and Fact

John HORNE TOOKE - British Justice Displayed

John HORNE TOOKE - Acquitted by his Jury

John THELWALL - Truth For My Helm and Justice For My Shield

London Corresponding Society - United for a Reform of Parliament

Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade - Am I Not a Man and a Brother