The son of a farmer, Thomas Pringle was born in Teviotdale and attended the Kelso Grammar School and Edinburgh University. After a childhood accident he used crutches throughout his life. Pringle contributed to James Hogg's Poetic Mirror (1816), and in 1817 was briefly editor of John Blackwood's Edinburgh Monthly Magazine. In 1820 removed to South Africa where he worked as a journalist. Running afoul of the governor he returned to London in 1826 to play an important role in the abolition movement as secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society. He edited the popular literary annual, Friendship's Offering from 1826. Pringle was preparing to return to South Africa at the time of his death.
The institute: a heroic poem [with Robert Story]. 1811.
The autumnal excursion: or sketches in Teviotdale, with other poems. 1819.
Ephemerides: or occasional poems, written in Scotland and South Africa. 1828.
The history of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave [ed. Pringle]. 1831.
African sketches. 1834.
Narrative of a residence in South Africa, ed. J. Conder. 1835.
Poetical works, ed. Leitch Ritchie. 1838.
Afar in the desert, and other South African poems, ed. J. Noble. 1881.
Pringle: his life, times, and poems, ed. W. Hay. 1912.
Some poems. 1916.
African sketches. 1970.
African poems, ed. E. Pereira and M. Chapman. 1989.