- This article incorporates public domain text from: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.
Born at Blaiklaw, in Teviotdale, Roxburghshire, he studied at Edinburgh, and became known to Scott, by whose influence he obtained a grant of land in South Africa, to which he, with his father and brothers, emigrated. He took to literary work in Cape Town, and conducted two papers, which were suppressed for their free criticisms of the Colonial Government.
Thereupon he returned and settled in London. An anti-slavery article which he had written in South Africa before he left, was published in the "New Monthly Magazine", and brought him to the attention of Buxton, Zachary Macaulay and others, which led to his being appointed Secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society. He offered work to Mary Prince, an escaped slave, enabling her to write her autobiography, which caused a sensation arising from failed libel actions and went into many editions. He also published African Sketches and books of poems, such as Ephemerides.
As Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society he helped steer the organisation towards its eventual success; in 1834, with a widening of the electoral franchise, the Reformed British Parliament passed legislation to bring an end to slavery in the British dominions - the aim of Pringle's Society. Pringle signed the Society's notice to set aside 1st August 1834 as a religious thanksgiving for the passing of the Act.
However, the legislation did not came into effect until August 1838, and Thomas Pringle was unable to witness this moment; he had died from tuberculosis in December 1834 at the age of 45. His remains were interred in Bunhill Fields, where he was commemorated with a memorial stone bearing an elegant inscription by William Kennedy.