The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 115
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The Mercer Colony in Texas, 1844-1883
In the tides of immigration to the Texas Republic there were
many of these holders of land scrip who desired to locate lands.
Because of the lack of funds the government was unable to sec-
tionize the public domain. Consequently a settler, impatient and
desirous of a location, who secured a certificate, was permitted to
have his "land located in his own way. This led to the overlapping
of interest, confusion of boundaries, and litigation that is yet in
Moreover, an individualism bred by frontier conditions, preju-
dices antagonized by racial and economic differences, and an
increasing security gained by interest from the United States
generated attitudes in the settlers and complications in adminis-
tration that were beyond the control of either the Texas government
or "The Texas Association."
Mercer's enthusiasm, energy, advertising, surveying, and his
advanced age were no match for the rising tide of opposition
agitated by a young generation of frontiersmen in the congress,
the convention, the legislature, and the Texas courts. Mercer, a
non-partisan, had advocated the abolition of the slave trade, a
cause which was later adopted by one of the most partisan groups
in the United States-a group which opposed Texas annexation.
Mercer, as a promoter, encouraged British and German immigra-
tion to Texas, but annexation turned the tide of sentiment against
both abolition and aliens. Mercer, who urged his surveyors to
abide by the laws of the Republic, commended the impossible. The
law, especially the land law, was chaotic. It was based upon the
Mexican land system.5 In an attempt to eliminate this system,
the Fourth Congress (September, 1838-November, 1839) "estab-
lished, with certain reservations suggested by the conditions of
the country the common law of England", and "created two
traveling boards of commissioners to visit every county seat in
the republic, examine records of county boards, hear testimony,
and pass upon the legality of every certificate issued by such
The issuance of certificates by the boards complicated with
fraud and investigations characterized the administration of the
first Commissioner of the General Land Office, John P. Borden
4Land Office Report, 1918-20, 39.
'James Daniel Lynch, Bench and Bar of Texas, 24.
J. H. Brown, History of Texas, 168.
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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/m1/129/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.