The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 166
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the Virginia Legislature; in the national House of Representa-
tives; in the United States Senate; as Secretary of State in the
Confederacy; in the Confederate Senate; and brings this infor-
mation together for the first time. The details of Hunter's life
are accurate, well authenticated, conveniently arranged and fully
The initial chapter outlining the Virginia leader's background
and personal characteristics is a good summary of a Memoir by
Hunter's daughter, Martha. The Memoir treats almost wholly
of Hunter's private life, and the summary retains all the Southern
charm of eulogistic biography.
Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs and Robert M. T. Hunter "be-
cause of their dominant influence in shaping Southern policies
during the decade before 1861," were frequently called the
"Southern Trio." The necessary attention is paid to Hunter's
colleagues, but the main character himself, though displayed in
all his political activities, is not as clearly and incisively designed
as one might hope.
Only one factual error, not a serious one, may attract the
reader's attention. Dr. Simms confuses Hinton Rowan Helper's
The Impending Crisis of the South: how to meet it and the
Compendium of the Impending Crisis of the South (as its title
indicates, a much abbreviated and revised work), in repeating
Professor J. S. Bassett's improbable assertion that one hundred
thousand copies of the Compendium were circulated in the presi-
dential election campaign of 1860.
Faulty diction, monotonous use of "former" and "latter," and
poor sentence structure place an unnecessary burden upon the
reader. Profuse errors and inconsistencies in the use of capitals,
punctuation and italics mar an otherwise highly pleasing format.
In attempting to orient the life of Hunter with the sub-title "A
Study in Sectionalism and Secession," Professor Simms has only
succeeded in presenting incomplete, sometimes muddled explana-
tions of the many complex problems in which Hunter found him-
But one cannot expect too much from a fifty thousand word
biography of the long, busy career of Robert M. T. Hunter. For
what it is-a brief sketch of Hunter's thirty years of public
service-the book is to be welcomed.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/180/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.