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.
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.
Born at Blaiklaw (now named Blakelaw), four miles south of Kelso in Roxburghshire he attended Kelso Grammar School and went on to study at Edinburgh University, where he developed a talent for writing. Injured 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. In 1816 one of his 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 frontier of the Cape with Settlers and provide a buffer against the Africans. He headed a party of Scottish Settlers whose farms were granted in the Baviaans River Valley miles away from the bulk of the 5,000 English 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 closed.
Kelso is a market town in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. Within the boundaries of the historic county of Roxburghshire, it lies where the rivers Tweed and Teviot have their confluence. The town has a population of 5,639 according to the 2011 census and based on the 2010 definition of the locality.
Roxburghshire or the County of Roxburgh is a historic county and registration county in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It borders Dumfriesshire to the west, Selkirkshire to the north-west, and Berwickshire to the north. To the south-west it borders Cumberland and to the south-east Northumberland, both in England.
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.
Without a livelihood, and with debts, Thomas 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 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 .
Zachary Macaulay was a Scottish statistician, one of the founders of London University and of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, an antislavery activist, and governor of Sierra Leone, the British colony for freed slaves. Like his famous son Thomas Macaulay, he divided the world into civilisation and barbarism with Britain representing the high point of civilisation because of its adherence to Christianity. He worked endlessly to end the slave trade and to Christianize and improve the world.
The Anti-Slavery Society was the everyday name of two different British organisations.
Mary Prince was a British abolitionist and autobiographer, born in Bermuda to an enslaved family of African descent. Subsequent to her escape, when she was living in London, England, she wrote her slave narrative The History of Mary Prince (1831), which was the first account of the life of a black woman to be published in the United Kingdom. This first-hand description of the brutalities of enslavement, released at a time when slavery was still legal in Bermuda and British Caribbean colonies, had a galvanising effect on the anti-slavery movement. It was reprinted twice in its first year.
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 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.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.
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).
Josiah Conder, correspondent of Robert Southey and well-connected to Romantic authors of his day, 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.
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.
Bunhill Fields is a former burial ground in central London, in the London Borough of Islington, just north of the City of London boundary. The site is managed as a public garden by the City of London Corporation. It is about 1.6 hectares in extent, although historically it was much larger.
William Kennedy (1799–1871) was a Scottish poet, journalist and writer, known also as a diplomat.
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which he founded with Isaac Knapp in 1831 and published in Massachusetts until slavery was abolished by Constitutional amendment after the American Civil War. He was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United States.
Theodore Dwight Weld was one of the architects of the American abolitionist movement during its formative years from 1830 through 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 and it is regarded as second only to that work 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 then 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 1845–1850 he served as president of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and also traveled to England to gain support for the movement.
Thomas Clarkson was an English abolitionist, and a leading campaigner against the slave trade in the British Empire. He helped found The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and helped achieve passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves.
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, at times with his wife Lucy Lew Dalton, 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.
George Donisthorpe Thompson was a British antislavery orator and activist who worked towards the abolition of slavery through lecture tours and legislation while serving as a Member of Parliament. He was arguably one of the most important abolitionists and human rights lecturers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society headquartered in Boston was organized as an auxiliary of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. Its roots were in the New England Anti-Slavery Society, organized by William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, in 1831.
The Massachusetts General Colored Association was organized in Boston in 1826 to combat slavery and racism. The Association was an early supporter of William Lloyd Garrison. Its influence spread locally and was realized within New England when they joined the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.
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.
Colonel Jonathan Peckham Miller (1797–1847) was an American abolitionist. He served in Greece and returned to be a politician standing up for the rights of slaves and women. He and Sarah Arms Miller used their house as a station on the Underground Railroad.
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).
Priscilla Buxton was a British slavery abolitionist. She was co-secretary of the London Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1833 a petition of 187,000 women's signatures were presented to parliament to end slavery. The first two names were Amelia Opie and Priscilla Buxton.
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.