Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter

Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter

Infobox Officeholder
name =Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter

imagesize =200px

caption =
order =18th
office =Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
term_start =December 16, 1839
term_end =March 4, 1841
president =Martin Van Buren
predecessor =James K. Polk
successor =John White
order2 =Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
term_start2 =March 4, 1837
term_end2 =March 3, 1843
predecessor2 =John Roane
successor2 =Samuel Chilton
order3 =Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th district
term_start3 =March 4, 1845
term_end3 =March 3, 1847
predecessor3 =Willoughby Newton
successor3 =Richard L. T. Beale
order4 =United States Senator
from Virginia
term_start4 =March 4, 1847
term_end4 =March 28, 1861
predecessor4 =William S. Archer
successor4 =John S. Carlile
order5 =2nd Confederate States Secretary of State
term_start5 =July 25, 1861
term_end5 =February 22, 1862
president5 =Jefferson Davis
predecessor5 =Robert Toombs
successor5 =Judah P. Benjamin
order6 =Confederate States Senator
from Virginia
term_start6 =February 18, 1862
term_end6 =May 10, 1865
predecessor6 =None
successor6 =None
birth_date =April 21, 1809
birth_place =Essex County, Virginia
death_date =July 18, 1887 (aged 78)
death_place =Essex County, Virginia
nationality =
party =Whig
otherparty =
spouse =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =University of Virginia
occupation =
profession =Law
net worth =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (April 21, 1809 – July 18, 1887) American statesman, was born in Essex County, Virginia.


He entered the University of Virginia in his seventeenth year and was one of its first graduates; he then studied law at the Winchester (Va.) Law School, and in 1830 was admitted to the bar. From 1835 to 1837 he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

From 1837 to 1843, and again from 1845 to 1847, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as Speaker of the House from 1839 to 1841, and is the youngest person to have ever held that position. From 1847 to 1861 he was in the Senate, where he was chairman of the Committee on Finance (1850-1861). He is credited with having brought about a reduction of the quantity of silver in the smaller coins. He was the author of the Tariff Act of 1857 and of the bonded-warehouse system, and was one of the first to advocate civil service reform. In 1853 he declined President Millard Fillmore's offer to make him Secretary of State.

At the National Democratic Convention at Charleston, South Carolina in 1860, he was the Virginia delegations choice as candidate for the presidency of the United States, but was defeated for the nomination by Stephen A. Douglas. Hunter did not regard Lincoln's election as being of itself a sufficient cause for secession, and on January 11, 1861 he proposed an elaborate but impracticable scheme for the adjustment of differences between the North and the South, but when this and several other efforts to the same end had failed he quietly urged his own state to pass the ordinance of secession.

From 1861 to 1862 he was the Confederate States Secretary of State; and from 1862 to 1865 was a member of the Confederate Senate,, in which he was, at times, a caustic critic of the Davis administration. He served as President pro tempore of the Confederate Senate. He was one of the commissioners to treat at the Hampton Roads Conference in 1865, and after the surrender of General Lee was summoned by President Lincoln to Richmond to confer regarding the restoration of Virginia in the Union. From 1874 to 1880 he was treasurer of Virginia, and from 1885 until his death near Lloyds, Virginia, was collector of the Port of Tappahannock, Virginia.

Among his works was "Origin of the Late War", about the causes of the Civil War.

See Martha T Hunter, "A Memoir of Robert MT Hunter" (Washington, 1903) for his private life, and DR Anderson, "Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter", in the John P Branch Historical Papers of Randolph Macon College (vol. ii. No. 2, 1906), for his public career.

In 1942, a United States Liberty ship named the SS "Robert M. T. Hunter" was launched. She was scrapped in 1971.

He was pictured on the Confederate $10.00 bill.

External links

* [ Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter] at Find A Grave

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Look at other dictionaries:

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