Drayton, William Henry | South Carolina Public Radio

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“D” is for Drayton, William Henry [1742-1779]. Revolutionary Leader. Planter. He was educated in England. In 1769, his essay in the South Carolina Gazette, opposing the non-importation association, created a political firestorm that resulted in his being ostracized politically, socially, and economically. He went to England where he hoped his views would be more appreciated. In England, he published The Letters of Freeman, a compilation of his essays in favor of British imperial policy—which won for him a seat on South Carolina’s Royal Council. Back home, increasingly concerned about imperial policies, he became an outspoken champion of colonial rights. In 1774 he was elected a member of the Provincial Congress, sat all the important revolutionary committees, and served as President of the Congress. In 1776, William Henry Drayton became the first prominent South Carolinian to openly call for separation from Great Britain.