Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42. Page: 401
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1875.] WOOD v. WELDER. 401
Argument for the appellee.
law of 18th August, 1824, as also forbidding the settlement of
public land within those limits by Mexican citizens, may be
corrected, and the title of Power and Hewitson was offered in
the present case largely under the influence of this hope.
This court in the case of Cavazos v. Trevino, 35 Texas, 133,
has indicated a modification of its previous decisions in regard
to this class of citizens, whose settlement of the mentioned territory
was not intended to be prohibited by the said colonization
law. It may be said, so to speak, to have in that case broken
the ice towards doing justice to a large class of citizens
who were unintentionally injured by the previous mistake of
fact on part of the court. It is spoken of as a mistake of fact,
because the misconception of the persons to whom the law
applied seems rather a mistake of fact than of law.
At the time that construction was first given to the colonization
law by this court, the means at the hands of the court for
acquiring a thorough knowledge of what was the purpose of the
law, were not so ample as they subsequently became, and furnisl
a sufficient excuse for what now seems to be so absurd an
error-absurd when we reflect that there were then many thousands
of Mexican citizens already living within ten miles of
the coast of Mexico, and it would seem impossible that any one
could suppose the Government of Mexico desirous of prohibiting
the location of other Mexican citizens within those limits.
It is not too late to correct the mistake. Even if it had been
a mistake purely of law, and affecting permanently the tenure
of property, real or personal, it would not be improper for a
court to resume the correct line of adjudication. The books
are filled with overruled cases, and the doctrine of stare decisis
should not be allowed to stand in the way of the just judge
with the nerve to correct an error, even at the expense of consistency.
Judge Kent says (Comm., Vol. I., 477): " But I wish not to
" be understood to press too strongly the doctrine of stare de"cisis,
when I recollect that there are more than one thousand
"cases to be pointed out in the English and American books of
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Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42., book, 1881; St. Louis, Mo.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28531/m1/409/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .