Southwestern Historical Quarterly
THE MERCER COLONY IN TEXAS, 1844-1883
NANCY ETHIE EAGLETON
OBSTRUCTIONS TO MERCER'S WORK
It has been pointed out that to colonize his grant, Mercer
organized his associates into a joint stock company, "The Texas
Association." Like the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, of
which he was the organizer in 1828, "The Texas Association" was
monopolistic in character. The contract of January 29, 1844, guar-
anteed the reservation of land within the grant and it further
guaranteed a premium of ten sections to the contractors for every
one hundred families settled. More than that, "The Texas Associa-
tion" was, by virtue of its origin, geared into a monopolistic insti-
tution older than the Chesapeake and Ohio Company. That institu-
tion was the empresario system which the Spanish government
instituted for the settlement and colonization of the wilderness.
The empresario, system, under which citizens from the United
States came to Texas preceding the Texas Revolution, ceased to
be operative from November 13, 1835, until the enactment of
the law of February 4, 1841, granting land to immigrants.'
Under the jurisdiction of the provisional government of Texas
and of the Republic of Texas, land was the only national asset.
Since the Republic was impoverished, land was used freely to
secure credit and revenue. The issuance of land scrip, a policy
which was in force from December 6, 1836, to December 14, 1836,
and again from May 24, 1838, to June 26, 1845, yielded an income
inadequate to meet the obligations of the government.2 In accord-
ance with this policy contractors who loaned the Texas government
money received issues of scrip in return. The contractors sold
the scrip, the purchasers of which constituted "an active body
of unknown citizens who held several million dollars worth of
debt and land scrip of Texas and looked to the United States
'Land Office Report, 1918-20, 36.
2Lang, Financial History of the Public Lands in Texas, 38-39.
8Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The Rise of American Civiliza-
tion, I, 582.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/. Accessed December 18, 2014.