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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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William Henry Drayton

DRAYTON, William Henry, statesman, born in Drayton Hall, on Ashley River, South Carolina, in September 1742 ; died in Philadelphia in September 1779. He went to England in 1753, under the care of Chief Justice Charles Pinckney, in company with the latter's two sons Charles Cotesworth and Thornas, where, after studying at Westminster school, he entered Balm College, Oxford, in 1761, and remained there for three years. After his return, at his father's call, in 1764, he pursued a course of reading in history and international law, was admitted to the bar, and became an active writer on political topics. In 1769 he published letters opposing the patriotic associations in the colonies, which were answered by Christopher Gadsden and John McKenzie. Drayton then went to England, republished his letters there, was introduced at court, and on 27 February 1771, received from the king the appointment of privy councilor for the province of South Carolina. He took his seat on 3 April 1772, but as the revolutionary crisis approached he was often in opposition to the crown officers and judges, and aided the passage of laws that would otherwise have been negative.

On 25 January 1774, in spite of the jealousy aroused by his course, he was appointed an assistant judge by." his uncle, Lieutenant-Gov. Bull. Just before the session of the first Continental congress he published a pamphlet, addressed to that body, in which, under the signature of " Freeman," he drew up a bill of rights, and substantially marked out the line of conduct that it afterward pursued. This brought on him an attack from the chief justice, Thomas Knox Gordon, in consequence of which he was suspended from his offices under the crown, but he lost none of his influence in the state.

He became a member of the "council of safety" in 1775, and soon afterward its president, and was active in advising the seizure of the provincial arsenals and British mails. He was also president of the provincial congress in 1775, and in March 1776, after the formation of a temporary constitution, became a privy councilor that year. He was considered the best Irish comedian on the American stage.

His wife, Louisa Drayton, actress, born in London, England, 10 January 1820, was the daughter of an English actor named Lane, and first appeared in child's parts at eight years of age. In 1828 she came to the United States with her mother, acted in New York and Philadelphia, and then visited Jamaica and other West India islands, returning to this country in 1832. In 1833 she again played in the New York theatres, and in 1834, at the age of fourteen, essayed the part of Julia in the " Hunchback," at the Boston theatre. In 1835 Miss Lane went to New Orleans, where she played Lady Teazle in "School for Scandal," and other high comedy parts; as she says, "being leading lady at the pay of twenty dollars per week." She married Henry Hunt, a veteran English opera singer, in 1836, and in 1842'6 appeared at intervals in New York City as a member of the stock companies of various theatres, sustaining parts in domestic dramas, burlesques, and light comedy. In 1847 she went to Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Mobile, and New Orleans, where, as she says, "cold tea and molasses and water were provided as beverages in plays where the business required actors to partake of liquid refreshments, the management, for once, taking high temperance grounds." In 1848, after separating from her first husband, she married George Mossop, a young Irish comedian, who died in 1849, and in the following year she became the wife of Mr. Drew.

In 1857 Mrs. Drew went on a tour through the country with her husband, and in 1861 she assumed the sole management of the Arch Street theatre, which has since been under her control. In her youth, notwithstanding the grace and refinement of her manner, she was too self-conscious, and her acting displayed neither force nor originality. But study, experience, and earnest emulation have finally made her one of the most versatile and finished artists on the English-speaking stage. Her greatest successes have been in high comedy parts.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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