Robert Hunter (colonial administrator)

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Robert Hunter
Robert Hunter (governor).jpg
Portrait of Robert Hunter (portrait attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
1707 – Captured at sea by the French; never served
Monarch Anne
Preceded by Edmund Jenings, President of Council
Succeeded by Alexander Spotswood
3rd colonial governor of New Jersey
In office
June 1710 – 1720
Preceded by Richard Ingoldesby (Lt. Governor)
Succeeded by Lewis Morris, President of Council
19th colonial governor of New York
In office
June 1710 – 1719
Preceded by Richard Ingoldesby (Lt. Governor)
Succeeded by Pieter Schuyler, Acting Governor
Governor of Jamaica
In office
1728 – March 1734
Monarch George I
Preceded by John Ayscough, President of Council
Succeeded by John Ayscough, President of Council
Personal details
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died31 March 1734
Jamaica, West Indies
OccupationMilitary officer, Governor, Playwright

Robert Hunter (1666–1734) was a British military officer, colonial governor of New York and New Jersey from 1710 to 1720, and governor of Jamaica from 1727 to 1734.


Hunter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1666, grandson of the twentieth Laird of Hunterston in Ayrshire, being the son of lawyer James Hunter and his wife Margaret Spalding.

Hunter had been apprenticed to an apothecary before running away to join the British Army. He became an officer in 1689 who rose to become a general, and married a woman of high rank. He was a man of business whose first address to the New Jersey Assembly was barely 300 words long. In it, he stated, "If honesty is the best policy, plainness must be the best oratory."

He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1707, but was captured by a corsair on his way to Virginia, taken to France, and in 1709 exchanged for the French Bishop of Quebec. He was then appointed Governor of New York and sailed to America with 3,000 Palatine refugees as settlers in 1710. In 1715 he advocated the local minting of copper coins, but the king refused. Governor Hunter's philosophy was that "the true Interests of the People and Government are the same, I mean A Government of Laws. No other deserves the Name, and are never Separated or Separable but in Imagination by Men of Craft." [1]

Hunter was succeeded as Governor by Pieter Schuyler as acting governor from 1719 to 1720 and finally by William Burnet, whose post as Comptroller of Customs was given to Hunter in exchange. Hunter was then Governor of Jamaica from 1727 until his death on 31 March 1734. While in Jamaica, Hunter waged an unsuccessful war against the Jamaican Maroons.

He was a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May,1709. [2]


His play, Androboros, written in 1714, was the first known play to be written and published in the North American British Colonies.

See also

Further reading

  • Lustig, Mary Lou (1983). Robert Hunter, 1666–1734: New York's Augustan Statesman. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. ISBN  9780815622963.


  1. ^ Scanlon, James Edward (10 February 2014). Birkner, Michael J.; Linky, Donald; Mickulas, Peter (eds.). The Governors of New Jersey: Biographical Essays. Rutgers University Press. pp. 56–59. ISBN  978-0-8135-6245-2.
  2. ^ Purvis, Thomas L. (2014). Colonial America To 1763. Infobase Publishing. p. 274. ISBN  9781438107998. Retrieved 27 June 2018.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Edmund Jenings
Governor of the Province of Virginia
Succeeded by
1st Earl of Orkney
Preceded by
Richard Ingoldesby
Governor of the Province of New Jersey
Succeeded by
William Burnet
Preceded by
Gerardus Beekman (acting)
Governor of the Province of New York
Succeeded by
Pieter Schuyler (acting)
Preceded by
John Ayscough (acting)
Governor of Jamaica
Succeeded by
John Ayscough (acting)