HUNTER, Robert Mercer Taliaferro

HUNTER, Robert Mercer Taliaferro
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
1809–1887

Biography

HUNTER, Robert Mercer Taliaferro, a Representative and a Senator from Virginia; born at "Mount Pleasant," near Loretto, Essex County, Va., April 21, 1809; tutored at home; graduated from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1828; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1830 and commenced practice at Lloyds; member, State general assembly 1834-1837; elected as a States-Rights Whig to the Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth, and Twenty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1837-March 3, 1843); Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Twenty-sixth Congress; unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Twenty-eighth Congress; elected to the Twenty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1845-March 3, 1847); chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia (Twenty-ninth Congress); elected to the United States Senate in 1846; reelected in 1852 and 1858 and served from March 4, 1847, to March 28, 1861, when he withdrew; expelled from the Senate on July 11, 1861, for support of the rebellion; chairman, Committee on Public Buildings (Thirtieth through Thirty-second Congresses), Committee on Finance (Thirty-first through Thirty-sixth Congresses); delegate from Virginia to the Confederate Provincial Congress at Richmond; Confederate Secretary of State 1861-1862; served in the Confederate Senate from Virginia in the First and Second Congresses 1862-1865 and was President pro tempore on various occasions; was one of the peace commissioners that met with President Abraham Lincoln in Hampton Roads in February 1865; briefly imprisoned at the end of the Civil War; State treasurer of Virginia 1874-1880; collector for the port of Tappahannock, Va. 1885; died on his estate 'Fonthill,' near Lloyds, Va., on July 18, 1887; interment in 'Elmwood,' the family burial ground, near Loretto, Va.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 3 letters.

Brown University

Providence, RI
Papers: March 6, 1857. 1 letter. From James Fowler Simmons.

Clemson University
Special Collections

Clemson, SC
Papers: Ca. 10 items in the John Caldwell Calhoun papers, 1784-1888. 6 feet. Finding aid. Restricted.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1868. 1 letter.

Maine Historical Society

Portland, ME
Papers: 1834-1871. 1 box. Correspondence from the U.S. Departments of Interior, Navy, State, and Treasury and other political papers.

New England Historic Genealogical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: Correspondence in Charles C. Coffin papers, 1861-1890.

University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: In Francis Willett Shearman papers, 1839-1878.

University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library

Rochester, NY
Papers: 3 letters (1865-1876) in various collections. Finding aid.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: 1826-1860. Ca. 60 items. Chiefly course notes (1826-1828), together with bills and receipts of his son.
Additional Papers: In Garnett family business records, 1794-1904; and Hunter and Garnett family papers, 1704-1940. Finding aid.

Virginia Historical Society

Richmond, VA
Papers: 9 boxes of correspondence, accounts, land records, congressional materials, Civil War and post-Civil War materials in Hunter family papers, 1766-1918; and correspondence in William Garnett Chisolm papers, 1749-1955. Finding aid.

Virginia State Library and Archives
Archives Division

Richmond, VA
Papers: 1820-1860,1876. 875 items. Political and business correspondence addressed to Hunter; drafts of speeches; manuscript biographies of Hunter and John C. Calhoun; and copies of Hunter letters. Correspondence (1826-1855) is from family members, and in the period 1856-1860, from constituents seeking favors. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: In Isaac Hammond collection, 1839-1875 (bulk 1861-1865); Garnett-Mercer-Hunter family papers, 1713-1853; 6 letters (December 21, 1835-April 7, 1840) to Hunter in James M. Garnett papers, 1806-1840; and 1 letter in Charles Fenton Mercer papers, 1807-1866.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Ambler, Charles Henry, ed. Correspondence of Robert M. T. Hunter, 1826-1876. 1918. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1971.

Anderson, D.R. "Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter." John P. Branch Historical Papers of Randolph-Macon College 2 (June 1906): 4-77.

Anderson, James LaVerne. "Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter."Virginia Cavalcade 18 (Autumn 1968): 9-13.

Anderson, James L., and Mary F. Crouch, eds. Papers of R.M.T. Hunter, 1817-1887. University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, 1967. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1989. Microfilm. 13 reels and guide.

Anderson, James L., and W. Edwin Hemphill. "The 1843 Biography of John C. Calhoun: Was R.M.T. Hunter Its Author?" Journal of Southern History 38 (August 1972): 469-74.

Calhoun, John C. [R.M.T. Hunter, presumed author]. Life of John C. Calhoun, Presenting a Condensed History of Political Events from 1811 to 1843. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1843.

Crow, Jeffrey J. "R.M.T. Hunter and the Secession Crisis, 1860-1861: A Southern Plan for Reconstruction." West Virginia History 34 (April 1973): 273-90.

Fisher, John Eugene. "The Dilemma of a States' Rights Whig: The Congressional Career of R.M.T. Hunter, 1837-1841." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 81 (October 1973): 387-404.

___. "Statesman of a Lost Cause: R.M.T. Hunter and the Sectional Controversy, 1847-1887." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia, 1968.

Hitchcock, William S. "Southern Moderates and Seccession: Senator Robert M.T. Hunter's Call for Union." Journal of American History 59 (March 1973): 871-84.

Hunter, Martha T. A Memoir of Robert M.T. Hunter. Washington: Neale Publishing Co., 1903.

Moore, Richard Randall. "In Search of a Safe Government: A Biography of R.M.T. Hunter of Virginia." Ph.D. dissertation, University of South Carolina, 1993.

___. "Robert M.T. Hunter and the Crisis of the Union, 1860-1861." Southern Historian 13 (Spring 1992): 25-35.

Simms, Henry Harrison. Life of Robert M.T. Hunter: A Study in Sectionalism and Secession. Richmond: William Byrd Press, 1935.

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