Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter

ROBERT MERCER TALIAFERRO HUNTER: statesman, b. Essex County, Virginia, 21 April 1809, d. there 18 July 1887. He was educated at the University of Virginia, studied at the Win chester Virginia Law School, and began practice in 1830. After serving in the Virginia Legislature in 1833, he was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1837, and 1838, and in 1839, chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was re-seated in 1842, and in 1846 was chosen United States Senator taking his seat in December 1847. In 1860 he was a cadidate for the Democratic nomination for President, receiving several ballots in the Charleston Convention resulting in the next highest vote to that of Stephen A. Douglass, and in January of that year made an elaborate speech in the Senate in favor of slavery, and the right of the slave holder to carry his slaves to the territories. When a bill came before the Confederate Army, Mr. Hunter at first opposed it, but having been instructed by the Virginia Legislature to vote in its favor, did so, accompanying his vote with an emphatic protest. At the close of the war he was arrested, but was released on parole, and in 1867 was pardoned by President Johnson. He was a successful candidate for U.S. Senator in 1874, became Treasurer of Va. in 1877, and in 1880 retired to the farm in Essex County, Va.


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