Thomas Pringle (5 January 1789 – 5 December 1834) was a Scottish writer, poet and abolitionist. Known as the father of South African poetry, he was the first successful English language poet and author to describe South Africa's scenery, native peoples, and living conditions.
Born at Douglas(now named Blakelaw), four miles south of Kelso in Roxburghshire, where he also married his wife, Anju Heyneke and attended Kelso Grammar School and went on to study at Edinburgh University, where he developed a talent for writing. Due to an injury in an accident in infancy,he did not follow his father into farming, but after attending Kelso grammar school and later Edinburgh University worked as a clerk and continued writing, soon succeeding to editorships of journals and newspapers, including William Blackwood's Edinburgh Monthly Magazine . He features as the character Mehibosheth in John Paterson's Mare, James Hogg's allegorical satire on the Edinburgh publishing scene first published in the Newcastle Magazine in 1825.
In 1816 one of Pringle's poems celebrating the countryside near Kelso came to the attention of the novelist Sir Walter Scott, who admired it. A friendship developed between the two and by Scott's influence, whilst facing hard times and unable to earn a living, Pringle secured free passage and a British Government resettlement offer of land in South Africa, to which he emigrated in 1820. This was a scheme to populate the eastern frontier of the Cape with English-speaking settlers and provide a buffer against the Africans. He headed a party whose farms were granted in the Baviaans River Valley miles away from the bulk of the 5,000 other settlers who were granted land in the area of Grahamstown. Being lame, he himself took to literary work in Cape Town rather than farming, opened a school with fellow Scotsman John Fairbairn, and conducted two newspapers, the South African Journal, and South African Commercial Advertiser. However, both papers became suppressed for their free criticisms of the Colonial Government, and his school was closed.
Without a livelihood, and with debts, Thomas returned to Britain 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 began working for the Committee of the Anti-Slavery Society in March 1827, and continued for seven years. He offered work to Mary Prince, a former slave, enabling her to write her autobiography describing her experiences under slavery in the West Indies. This book caused a sensation, partly arising from libel actions disputing its accuracy,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 1 August 1834 as a religious thanksgiving for the passing of the Act. However, the legislation did not come 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.
In his memory, Josiah Conder's Biographical Sketch of the Late Thomas Pringle (1835) was published, sold bound together with Thomas Pringle's own Narrative of a Residence in South Africa (1834).
His remains were interred in Bunhill Fields, where he was commemorated with a memorial stone bearing an elegant inscription by William Kennedy. In 1970, however, his remains were brought to South Africa, to the church near the farm his family owned in the Baviaans Valley, and re-interred there.
William Blackwood was a Scottish publisher who founded the firm of William Blackwood and Sons.
James Hogg was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as a shepherd and farmhand, and was largely self-educated through reading. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, of whom he later wrote an unauthorised biography. He became widely known as the "Ettrick Shepherd", a nickname under which some of his works were published, and the character name he was given in the widely read series Noctes Ambrosianae, published in Blackwood's Magazine. He is best known today for his novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. His other works include the long poem The Queen's Wake (1813), his collection of songs Jacobite Relics (1819), and his two novels The Three Perils of Man (1822), and The Three Perils of Woman (1823).
The American Anti-Slavery Society was an abolitionist society founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, had become a prominent abolitionist and was a key leader of this society, who often spoke at its meetings. William Wells Brown, also a freedman, also often spoke at meetings. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members.
Theodore Dwight Weld was one of the architects of the American abolitionist movement during its formative years from 1830 to 1844, playing a role as writer, editor, speaker, and organizer. He is best known for his co-authorship of the authoritative compendium American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses, published in 1839. Harriet Beecher Stowe partly based Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Weld's text; the latter is regarded as second only to the former in its influence on the antislavery movement. Weld remained dedicated to the abolitionist movement until slavery was ended by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865.
Robert Purvis was an American abolitionist in the United States. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and was likely educated at Amherst Academy, a secondary school in Amherst, Massachusetts. He spent most of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1833 he helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Library Company of Colored People. From 1845 to 1850 he served as president of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and also traveled to Britain to gain support for the movement.
The Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions, founded in 1823 and known as the London Anti-slavery Society during 1838 before ceasing to exist in that year, was commonly referred to as the Anti-Slavery Society.
Mary Prince was the first black woman to publish an autobiography of her experience as a slave, born in the colony of Bermuda to an enslaved family of African descent. After being sold a number of times and being moved around the Caribbean, she was brought to England as a servant in 1828, and later left her enslaver.
Josiah Conder, was an abolitionist, author and hymn-writer. A correspondent of Robert Southey and well-connected to Romantic authors of his day, he was editor of the British literary magazine The Eclectic Review, the Nonconformist and abolitionist newspaper The Patriot, the author of romantic verses, poetry, and many popular hymns that survive to this day. His most ambitious non-fiction work was the thirty-volume worldwide geographical tome The Modern Traveller; and his best-selling compilation book The Congregational Hymn Book. Conder was a prominent London Congregationalist, an abolitionist, and took an active part in seeking to repeal British anti-Jewish laws.
Thomas Dalton (1794–1883) was a free African American raised in Massachusetts who was dedicated to improving the lives of people of color. He was active with his wife Lucy Lew Dalton, Charlestown, Massachusetts, in the founding or ongoing activities of local educational organizations, including the Massachusetts General Colored Association, New England Anti-Slavery Society, Boston Mutual Lyceum, and Infant School Association, and campaigned for school integration, which was achieved in 1855.
Susan Paul (1809–1841) was an African-American abolitionist from Boston, Massachusetts. A primary school teacher and member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, Paul also wrote the first biography of an African American published in the United States. The book, Memoir of James Jackson, was published in 1835.
Hugh Murray FRSE FRGS (1779–1846) was a Scottish geographer and author. He is often referred to as Hew Murray.
Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end the practice of slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the world, including ending the Atlantic slave trade. It was part of a wider abolitionism movement in Western Europe and the Americas.
Events from the year 1834 in Scotland.
James George Barbadoes was an African-American, community leader, and abolitionist in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 19th century. Dedicated to improving the lives of people of color at the local level, as well as the national level.
The Edinburgh Ladies' Emancipation Society was a leading abolitionist group based in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the nineteenth century. The women associated with the organisation are considered "heroines" and the impact of these abolitionist organisations for women are thought to have had a notional impact.
James Randolph Vigne FSA was a South African anti-apartheid activist. He was an influential member of the Liberal Party of South Africa, a founding member of the National Committee for Liberation, and the founder of the African Resistance Movement (ARM).
Betto Douglas was a slave on St. Kitts, at the time a British Colony. What is known of her life illuminates the practice slavery in the Caribbean and the efforts of abolitionist societies to free them. Douglas is an iconic figure of resistance to slavery in the country and her story is featured in the National Museum of Saint Kitts and Nevis. In Britain, she is included on the initial slave register for St. Kitts and kept in the Central Slave Registries at the British National Archives, which are enrolled in the UNESCO Memory of the World Registry.
Songs, By the Ettrick Shepherd is a collection of 113 songs by James Hogg published in 1831. All except one of the songs had previously appeared in print, mostly either in Hogg's earlier publications or in a range of periodicals.
Tales of the Wars of Montrose is a set of six fictional narratives by James Hogg published in 1835. Each of them centres on the fortunes of an individual during the civil conflict of the 1640s in Scotland.
A Series of Lay Sermons is a set of eleven moral and religious discourses by James Hogg published in 1834.