The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 144
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and in the obstruction of the slave trade, furnished him with a
wealth of experience on which he hoped to capitalize. Leaders in
the United States and in Western Europe were aware of his inter-
ests. He had a vision of a colony in the Republic of Texas where
he might realize his political, social, and economic ideals and
where he might enjoy a degree of quiet and security in his de-
clining years. Mercer secured his contract from Sam Houston
to colonize a grant of land in the rich, black land area of North
Texas. He hoped to introduce into this grant those people who
had interests in common with his. Unfortunately for Mercer, his
colony lay across the path of sunburned, weather-beaten squatters,
whose political and economic philosophy was shaped by a frontier
environment. They contested his claims from the very beginning
and the conflict was calmed only when the squatters were con-
vinced that their contention might prevent the annexation of
Texas. After annexation was secured, friction again developed on
account of the determined encroachment of Anglo-American land
law upon the Spanish-American system, an encroachment which
was accelerated by the continual stream of emigration from the
other states of the union. Anglo-American law was continually
upheld in the courts and by the legislature of the state. Time
did not deal kindly with Mercer, and in his declining years and
disappointment he relinquished his interests in the colony and
in "The Texas Association" to George Washington Hancock, a
younger man. Hancock was no more successful than Mercer had
been in securing adjustments. At the death of Hancock, William
Preston, his successor as chief agent of "The Texas Association,"
sought by aggressive methods to secure returns for the invest-
ments of "The Texas Association." When Preston's case finally
reached the Supreme Court of the United States, that body by
its decision verified a fact that laws which provide for contracts
do not always assure their fulfillment. The court's decision car-
ried out the idea of Alexander Hamilton that the enforcement
of law is based upon "public opinion and on the general spirit
of the government."
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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/m1/158/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.