(1742–79), South Carolina jurist, educated at Oxford, who boldly attacked the policies of Parliament in his Letter from Freeman of South Carolina, consequently losing his judicial positions. As Chief Justice of South Carolina, he declared, two months before the Declaration of Independence, that the king had no authority in his colony. Drayton was the first important advocate of political autonomy for America. Memoirs of the American Revolution (1821) was edited from his papers by his son John.
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.