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Robert Roberts Hitt (January 16, 1834 – September 20, 1906) was an Assistant Secretary of State and later a member of the United States House of Representatives.

Robert Roberts Hitt
Robert R. Hitt.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – September 20, 1906
Preceded by Vespasian Warner
Succeeded by Frank O. Lowden
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1903
Preceded by Thomas J. Henderson
Succeeded by Henry S. Boutell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1895
Preceded by Thomas J. Henderson
Succeeded by Edward D. Cooke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th district
In office
December 4, 1882 – March 3, 1883
Preceded by Robert M.A. Hawk
Succeeded by Reuben Ellwood
13th United States Assistant Secretary of State
In office
May 4, 1881 – December 19, 1881
Preceded by John Hay
Succeeded by J.C. Bancroft Davis
Personal details
Born (1834-01-16)January 16, 1834
Urbana, Ohio, U.S.
Died September 20, 1906(1906-09-20) (aged 72)
Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Republican
Profession Secretary, Politician

He was born in Urbana, Ohio, to Reverend Thomas Smith Hitt and Emily John Hitt. He and his parents moved to Mount Morris, Illinois in 1837. There he was educated at Rock River Seminary and later at DePaul University. An expert shorthand writer (one of few men of his time who represented that skill), he became a very close friend of future President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, and during the famous Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858, at the request of Lincoln, Hitt served as a shorthand note-taker. During Lincoln's legal days in Chicago, he had first employed Hitt as such.

In 1872, Hitt was a personal secretary for Indiana Senator Oliver P. Morton, In December 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him First Secretary of the American Legation in Paris; he served from 1874 to 1881 and as Chargé d'Affaires a part of that time.

Hitt's former home in Washington, D.C.

He was United States Assistant Secretary of State under James G. Blaine during President James A. Garfield and President Chester A. Arthur's Administrations in 1881 and was elected to represent Illinois' 5th district in the United States House of Representatives in 1882. Hitt became Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the beginning of the Fifty-first Congress and from the Fifty-fourth to Fifty-ninth Congresses. When the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 came up for renewal in 1892, he argued against the alien documentation provisions of the bill: "Never before in a free country was there such a system of tagging a man, like a dog to be caught by the police and examined, and if his tag or collar is not all right, taken to the pound or drowned and shot. Never before was it applied by a free people to a human being, with the exception (which we can never refer to with pride) of the sad days of slavery. …"[1]

He was appointed in July 1898 by President William McKinley as a member of the commission created by the Newlands Resolution to establish government in the Territory of Hawaii.

During the last years of his life, he was Regent of the Smithsonian Institution. He died on September 20, 1906. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Morris, Illinois, along with his parents.

Hitt is the namesake of the community of Hitt, Missouri.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 23 Cong. Rec. 3923 (1892).
  2. ^ "Scotland County Place Names, 1928–1945". The State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 

External linksEdit