The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 42
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
President to Secretary State
January 25, 1844
The Honorable Anson Jones will make a contract with General
Mercer, and such others as he may desire. The terms will be 5 yr.
to complete it in, at least 100 families to be introduced each year.
The alternate sections may be taken whenever the contractor or
company may think proper by paying to the government 12 dollars
for each section in par funds and one dollar in Government
liability per each acre of the alternate section. This you will please
to have attended to as soon as convenient.
Your obt. servt
Provision in the contract for the sale of alternate sections was
consistent with the government's policy of "anticipating revenue"
and "with the severe economy and retrenchment of Houston's
second term, 1841-1844," which had put the finances in much
While the immediate purpose back of the empresario contracts
immediately following the law of February 4, 1841, appears to
have been the settlement of the "wild lands" of the frontier,
President Houston negotiated the Mercer Colony Contract at a
time when Indian dangers and Mexican invasion were not as
threatening as they had been, but at a time when the Republic
was struggling to establish financial security. It was a time
when Britain was urging abolition and Texan independence; when
Tyler, President of the United States, was proposing annexation;
when a tide of immigrants was streaming in from the United
States; and, to make matters worse, when partisan politics con-
trolled the actions of the Texan Congress.
Mercer's long tenure in the Congress of the United States, his
'"Colonization Papers, 1843-1845. Texas State Library.
"George P. Garrison, Texas, A Contest of Civilizations, 236.
The concern which Lamar and Houston had for the finances of the
republic appeared to be one of the reasons for readopting the old empre-
sario system. The Congress in 1841 believed that the contractor system
might yield revenue. Further, they desired to people the land. Conse-
quently, Texas was widely advertised abroad during which time England
was lending money to Texas.
After opposition to British interest in Texas developed in the United
States, the policy of encouraging immigration from Europe by the Texas
government was resented by some Texans (possibly the recent arrivals).
England was losing the prospects (which she may not have officially had
but which she was trying to secure) of monopolizing Texas cotton and
was losing also the dependence of Texas upon her.
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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/m1/50/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.