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William Hunter (November 26, 1774 – December 3, 1849) was an American politician and diplomat and namesake/owner of the Hunter Housemarker museum.

Hunter was born in Newport, Rhode Islandmarker. He attended the Rogers School and graduated from the College of Rhode Island and Providence Plantationsmarker (the former name of Brown Universitymarker) at Providence in 1791. In 1791 he went to England to study medicine, but when he arrived there he changed his mind and studied law. He returned to the United States in 1793 and established a law practice in Newport. He was a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly from 1799 to 1812, a member of the United States Senate from Rhode Island from 1811 to 1821, and a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1823 to 1825. Hunter had been appointed by the state legislature to the United States Senate in 1811 after a senator resigned, and elected to a full term in 1814. He was a member of the United States Federalist Party in the Senate, and served as chairman of the Commerce Committee from 1815 to 1817.

After leaving the Senate, Hunter continued to practice law in Portland. In 1836, he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson to be the United States representative to Brazilmarker. He served in this position for 9 years, until 1845, and then returned to Newport, where he died four years later. Hunter is buried in the Trinity Churchmarker graveyard.

Information about his political beliefs and activities while in the Senate is not easily available. One opinion that he is known for is that he believed that the state of Massachusettsmarker was exaggerating its role in the Revolutionary War.

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