Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hatton, Joseph
HATTON, JOSEPH (1841–1907), novelist and journalist, was son of Francis Augustus Hatton, a printer and bookseller at Chesterfield, who in 1854 founded the 'Derbyshire Times.' Hatton was born at Andover, Hampshire, on 3 Feb. 1841, and he was educated at Bowker's school, Chesterfield. Intended for the law, he entered the office of the town clerk at Chesterfield, William Waller, but marrying at the age of nineteen he engaged in journalism, publishing in 1861 'Provincial Papers,' being a collection of tales and sketches. In 1863 he was appointed editor of the 'Bristol Mirror.' He held that and other provincial posts until 1868, when he came to London. Pushing and energetic (Tinsley, Random Recollections, ii. 86), he was entrusted by Messrs. Grant & Co., newspaper and magazine proprietors, with the editorship of the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' the 'School Board Chronicle,' and the 'Illustrated Midland News.' Mark Lemon [q. v.], editor of 'Punch,' was among his early London acquaintances, and he published in 1871 a volume of reminiscences of Lemon under the title of 'With a Show in the North,' and subsequently in 'London Society ' wrote a series of articles called 'The True Story of Punch' (cf. Spielmann's Hist. of Punch, passim). In 1874 Hatton retired from his editorship of Grant's periodicals and acted as London correspondent for the 'New York Times,' the 'Sydney Morning Herald,' and the Berlin 'Kreuz-Zeitung,' besides editing for a time the 'Sunday Times,' and making some reputation as a novelist. In 1881 the 'Standard' sent him to the United States to establish on its behalf an independent telegraph service (Hatton, Journalistic London, 144 n.), and he recorded his impressions of the country in a series of articles afterwards collected as 'To-day in America' (2 vols. 1881). It was during his visit that president Garfield was shot, and Hatton, who had early intelligence of the outrage, held the line for three hours and cabled the longest telegraphic message then recorded from America to the 'Standard.' That paper thus gave full details of the tragic event on 3 July 1881, a day before its London contemporaries (People, 4 Aug. 1907). A member of the Garrick Club, he was an intimate friend of (Sir) Henry Irving and of J. L. Toole, and accompanied the former on his first visit to America in 1883, which he described in 'Henry Irving's Impressions of America, narrated ... by Joseph Hatton' (2 vols. 1884). In 1889 he ’chronicled' in like fashion Toole's reminiscences (2 vols.). In 1892 Hatton became editor of the 'People,' a conservative Sunday newspaper, and contributed to that paper (and also to a syndicate of provincial papers) his 'Cigarette Papers for After-dinner Smoking,' a weekly medley of reminiscences, stories, and interviews. He died m London on 31 July 1907, and was buried in Marylebone cemetery.
Hatton married in 1860 Louisa Howard (d. 1900), daughter of Robert Johnson, by whom he had an only son, Frank Hatton [q. v.], and two daughters, Ellen Howard, wife of William Heiuy Margetson, the artist, and Bessie, a novelist. His portrait, painted by his son-in-law, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1895. Hatton, who published in 1882 'The New Ceylon,' the first English book on North Borneo, issued in 1886 a biographical sketch of his son, who was killed in 1883 while exploring North Borneo.
Hatton's industry and fluency were great. Among his numerous novels, which suited popular taste, were 'Clytie' (1874); 'By Order of the Czar' (1890); and 'When Rogues Fall Out' (1899). He made several attempts at the drama. His dramatised version of his novel 'Clytie,' which was first produced at the Amphitheatre, Liverpool, on 29 Nov. 1875, and was transferred to the Olympic, London, on 10 Jan. 1876, proved highly successful. A dramatic version of his novel 'John Needham's Double' followed in 1885. His dramatic version of Hawthorn's 'Scarlet Letter 'proved popular in America. Other works by him were : 1. 'Journalistic London,' 1882. 2. 'Old Lamps and New : an After-dinner Chat,' 1889. 3. 'Club-Land, London and Provincial,' 1890.
[The Times, and Standard, 1 Aug. 1907; People, 4 Aug. 1907; Who's Who, 1906; Hatton's Old Lamps and New and Journalistic London; private information.]