The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 43
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The Mercer Colony in Texas, 1844-1883
active interest in the exclusion of free negroes from the United
States and in the abolition of the slave trade, and his association
with the British interests, clearly identified him in the minds of
Houston's opponents and of the advocates of annexation as an
"abolitionist," "a speculator," "a monopolist," and an "opponent
of the interests of the settlers."28
Added to the opposition of the above forces, there was another
influence which aimed at all the colony contracts under the Act
of February 4, 1841, and which struck with particular directness
at Mercer's contract. That influence came from the annual report
of 1843 made by Col. Thomas W. Ward, Commissioner of the
General Land Office, who had encountered the complexities and
inconsistencies of a fast developing hybrid land policy. By his
report in which he attacked the law of February 4, 1841, "as
illegal, impolitic and objectionable on several grounds," and dis-
cussed the contracts immediately following it at length, Ward
brought the attention of the Congress, 1843-1844, to the subject
of colony contracts. The Congress passed a bill "to repeal all laws
now in force authorizing the President to form colonization con-
tracts, and to forfeit such as may have already been made, when
the conditions have not been strictly complied with." The Presi-
dent vetoed the act and authorized the Secretary of State to nego-
tiate a contract with Mercer. Houston signed the contract, January
29, 1844, and Congress passed the law over the President's veto
January 30, 1844. Under such inauspicious circumstances the
contract, later known as the Mercer Colony Contract, got on its
In general the Contract authorized an association to settle at
least one hundred families each year for five years from January
29, 1844. The contractors, who were required to provide ammuni-
tion for the defence of the settlement and to make semi-annual
reports to the Secretary of State, were guaranteed a premium of
ten sections of land for each one hundred families settled. Each
head of a family who settled within the grant was entitled to
receive a section of land.
The boundary was fixed. It began on Red River at a position
"[A. J.] Peeler and [T. J.] Maxey, History and Statement of Mercer
Colony ase (Austin, 1882), Appendix, 32.
2Peeler and Maxey, History and Statement of Mercer Colony Case,
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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/m1/51/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.