Description

    [Mercer Colony]. Charles H. DuPont Autograph Letter Signed "C. H. DuPont." One page, 7.75" x 9.75", Quincy [Florida], September 16, 1845, to Col. Samuel Bailey. Florida lawyer Charles DuPont (1805-1877) was acting as the agent for Bailey in his dealings with Charles F. Mercer, a Virginia businessman who was actively promoting his new colony in the Republic of Texas. In 1841, the Texas Congress passed a law to begin reissuing empresario contracts to settle uninhabited land within the Republic, as the Mexicans had done twenty years earlier. Opposition to the practice grew steadily, becoming the majority view by the time Texas President Sam Houston approved the grant to Charles F. Mercer, a man who was very unpopular in Texas due to his abolitionist views.

    DuPont begins, in part: "...your letter of the 1st of August, with the manuscript agreement of Genl: Mercer arrived while I was absent; & it has only been within a few days that I have been enabled to exchange them for the 'printed' copies...I have just received a letter from General Mercer in which he expresses the greatest confidence in his success. he intends replying to [Branch T.] Archer. I doubt the policy of entering into any controversy about the grant, as it can only result in exciting opposition to the scheme...I believe that Archer's only object was to strike Houston's character, by attacking the grant." Archer, former speaker of the Texas House and secretary of war under President Lamar, was an outspoken opponent of the Mercer grant and an enemy of Sam Houston.

    The day after Mercer received approval for his plan, Congress (overriding Houston's earlier veto of the matter) outlawed further contracts for colonization. Mercer's grant, as well as his person, were immediately called in to question. Congress, who was not happy, launched an investigation to verify Mercer's ability to fulfill his promise to the government. DuPont continues by reassuring Bailey: "I have just mad[e] a copy of an opinion given by Allen, the former Atty: Genl: of Texas, in relation to the validity of the grant; in which he is most positive that if the stipulations of the agreement are complied with by the grantee, there can never arise any doubt as to the validity of the grant. His only apprehension seems to be of oposition [sic] from the 'settlers' & he earnestly advises conciliatory measures to be adopted towards them."

    Folds. Top and bottom edges show some chipping and minor staining. Text is bold with areas of ink smudging and some ink blossoming. Some text bleed-through from the verso.

    Charles H. DuPont (1805-1877) was an attorney in Florida who served on the Florida Supreme Court from 1854 until 1868 and was its chief justice from 1860.


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