As the struggle for independence from Great Britain intensified after the French and Indian Wars, William Pitt the Elder was one of the few members of Parliament who enjoyed the confidence and affection of his American brothers. The French and Indian Wars (in Europe, the 7 Years War), in North America had severely depleted the English treasury. In March 1765, the British Parliament instituted the infamous Stamp Act that taxed almost every piece of official paper issued in and for the colonies. Benjamin Franklin argued on the colonies behalf before Parliament and found an ally with Pitt, the First Earl of Chatham. To the great relief of all Americans, the Stamp Act was repealed in May of 1766. Pitt became a hero to America immediately. In New York, the Assembly voted to erect Statues of Pitt and even George III to commemorate the repeal.

This token was probably a continuation of the rush to elevate Pitt to folk-hero status by the Americans. The dyes for the token are attributed to James Smither, an English born gunsmith and engraver who worked in Philadelphia during the 1760's and 1770's. The portrait of Pitt on the obverse is supposedly based on sketches made by Paul Revere. The bust is surrounded by the legends, THE RESTORER OF COMMERCE 1766 and NO STAMPS. The reverse shows a ship at sea with full sails and waving flags with the word AMERICA written diagonally in front of the bow of the ship. Around the rim is, THANKS TO THE FRIENDS OF LIBERTY AND TRADE.

We are unsure if these tokens were struck in England or in America. There was a groundswell of affection in London for Pitt, as the continuation of the Stamp Act would have severely affected trade with America. The use of THE RESTORER OF COMMERCE legend tends to link the sponsorship of this token with British merchants rather than American patriots. The copper tokens were minted in halfpenny and farthing sizes. The halfpenny token was often thinly plated with silver or tin. They circulated extensively in England and America, and must have been highly prized as tributes to a great friend of America.