Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Robert M.T. Hunter speech

Abstract

The Robert M.T. Hunter speech (dated 1856; 0.01 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises one speech given by United States Senator Robert Hunter on the floor of the Senate after the caning of Senator Charles Sumner.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Robert M.T. Hunter speech
Creator
Hunter, R. M. T. (Robert Mercer Taliaferro), 1809-1887
Extent
0.01 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Speeches, addresses, etc.
Politics
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0741: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Robert M.T. Hunter speech, 1856, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Robert M.T. Hunter (1809-1887) was born at the Mount Pleasant plantation near Loretto, Virginia to James Hunter (1774-1826) and Maria Garnett (1777-1811). In 1836, he married Mary Evelina Dandridge (1817-1893) and the couple had eight children: Robert Jr. (1839-1861), Martha (1841-1909), James (1844-1892), Sara (1846-1865), Philip (1848-1919), Muscoe (1850-1865), Annie (1852-1853), and Mary (1854-1881). He attended the University of Virginia and became one of its first graduates. Following graduation, he attended Winchester Law School and in 1830, he was admitted to the Virginia Bar. Hunter began his political career as a representative of Essex County in the Virginia House of Delegates, serving from 1834-1837 as a States Rights Whig. He then moved to the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1837-1843 as a member of the Whig Party and 1845-1847 as a member of the Democratic Party. While in the US House of Representatives, he was elected and served as Speaker of the House from 1839 to 1841. Hunter's politics included favoring annexing Texas, retroceding Alexandria back to Virginia from the District of Columbia, and supported the Tariff of 1846. Following his tenure in the House of Representatives, Hunter ran for the US Senate, serving form 1847 to 1861. His politics in the Senate include supporting slavery, extending the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, opposed the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia as well as the interference with its operation in any state or territory, and supported the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. He was chair of the Committee on Finance in 1850, helping push forward the bill that would eventually become the Coinage Act of 1853. He also drafted and sponsored the Tariff of 1857 and advocated for civil service reform. After the 1860 presidential election, Hunter attempted to adjust the differences between the North and the South, however after his and other's efforts failed, he urged for his own state to pass the ordinance of secession in April 1861. As a result, Hunter was expelled from the Senate. In July 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Hunter the Confederate States Secretary of State. In February 1862, he resigned after his election as a Confederate Senator, a position he served in until the end of the war. In 1867, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Hunter for his activities in support of the Confederate States. He ran one final time to become a US Senator in 1874, but lost to Robert E. Withers. After the loss, he accepted the appointment as the Treasurer of Virginia, serving from 1874 to 1880, when he returned to his farm. From 1885 to his death, he was customs collector of the Port of Tappahannock, Virginia.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Robert M.T. Hunter speech (dated 1856; 0.01 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises one speech given by United States Senator Robert Hunter on the floor of the Senate after the caning of Senator Charles Sumner. In the speech, Hunter discusses the differences between the Northern and Southern reactions to Sumner's speech and subsequent attack by Preston Brooks and how the country needs its representatives to come together to find a common ground to work together and repair the hurt caused by the situation.
The Robert M.T. Hunter speech collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Speech concerning the assault on Mr. Sumner, 1856

  • Box WH-82, folder 1
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.