Robert Hunter 1666-1734

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Robert HUNTER 1666-1734

Biographical Note

Born in Edinburgh, son of James Hunter, lawyer. He entered military service and rose through the ranks of the army during the 1690s, becoming a captain of a troop of Irish dragoons in 1698. He fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, and with the patronage of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. An appointment as governor of Virginia failed when he was captured by pirates, but in 1710 he sailed to America as governor of New York and New Jersey. He returned to England in 1719 and after a period as comptroller of customs he became governor of Jamaica in 1727; he died there in 1734. He was friendly with many literary figures in Britain, including Addison, Steele and Swift, and a play he wrote in New York, Androboros, was the first play to be printed in America (in 1714).


Hunter used an engraved armorial bookplate, made after 1727 when he had become governor of Jamaica (Franks 15778). The extent of his library is not known; in his will, he left much of his property, including all the residue of his estate, to his son Thomas Orby Hunter, on condition that he did not marry Sarah Kelly of Jamaica (which he did not do).