Eulogy by Dr. Cupples.

The following eulogy on the life and character of Hon. Samuel A. Maverick was delivered in October, 1870, before the Alamo Literary Society of San Antonio, Texas, by George Cupples, M. D.:

"Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Society:

"In all ages and amongst all peoples, from the times of which history has no record, even unto our day, it has been held a sacred duty to celebrate the merits of the dead, the exploits of warriors, the services rendered by legislators and sages, the moral excellence of men noted for their virtues and their public services. In the dim pre-historic ages the burial places of their forefathers were held in sacred awe by all races of men that have left vestiges of their customs and of their existence on the surface of the globe; and, indeed, of many of these, their places of sepulture furnish the sole glimpse of their degree of culture and advancement. The deeds of fame of heroes, the services of sages, of benefactors of their race, are preserved in the mythology of the Greeks and Romans, and of races still older—to whom the former owed their knowledge—the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Hindoos, and the tribes of far Cathay.

"The lays and legends of barbarous and semi-civilized, preceded the invention of the alphabet and the art of expressive sounds by symbols, and had for subject and inspiration the deeds of those who had distinguished themselves beyond their fellows. All their customs and usages, as far as known to us, mark their reverence for the memory of their dead, and the traditions of their good and noble actions. Shall a duty recognized by our uncultivated predecessors be neglected by us who claim to excel in the fulfillment of all civic obligations?

"In this, the seventh decade of this marvelous century, when the march of progress and the change hurries us on with breathless speed, when revolutions in politics, in social and physical science succeed each other with such rapidity as to leave us scanty opportunity to look back on the past, absorbed as we are in the present, it is well, I saw, that events happening in our midst should arrest our attention and claim our homage for those who, descending to the tomb in the fullness of age, leave the record of a life which connects our stormy and troubled present with the calmer past, and who are worthy to serve as an example and pattern to their successors in the arena of life.

"More especially does it behoove you, on whom devolves the duty of preserving the remembrance of the worthies of the West, to mark your appreciation of the public services and of the public and private virtues of one who, having espoused in his youth the cause of struggling liberty in Texas, defended her in war, served her in peace, guided her in her commencing career by his counsels, proclaimed to the world her Declaration of Independence, suffered for her in person and in property, bore the pains of prison and of fetters for her sake; gloried in her triumph, and to the close of a blameless life, 'mid trials such as fall to the lot of few men, bore himself as a true Texan and a faithful patriot. Need I say that such a man was Samuel A. Maverick?

"The name of Maverick is of old standing in the New England States, the founder of the family having emigrated from England at an early period of the settlement of this country. A young man of this name fell in one of the affrays which occurred in the streets of Boston, immediately before the memorable tea party. Another branch of the family settled in New York. I have in my possession a diploma or certificate issued to a master mason—in English, Spanish and French—handsomely engraved on parchment, by Peter Maverick, and published by Bro. Samuel Maverick, of New York. An ancestor of the subject of this notice settled in South Carolina, where the grandfather of the deceased, after serving in the war of the Revolution, died soon after its close, reduced to poverty by losses sustained in its course. His son, the father of our Mr. Maverick, consequently began life penniless, but by industry, united to capacity and integrity, he rose from being a clerk in a large establishment in Charleston, to be sole proprietor of three business houses, and had the credit of being a pioneer in numerous successful enterprises. He shipped the first bale of cotton from America, and thus materially aided in establishing a commerce which has spread over the world and has penetrated into regions the most remote of the globe, carrying civilization and enlightenment to the fartherest corners of the earth. The enterprises of this remarkable man extended even to the Celestial Empire, at that day all but inaccessible to America. Having accumulated a large fortune he removed to Pendleton, South Carolina, where he built a residence and remained until his death, in 1852, largely interested in land speculations.

"Here, Samuel Augustus Maverick was born on the 28th of July, 1803, his mother being a daughter of General Robert Anderson of South Carolina, of Revolutionary renown. Of Mr. Maverick's boyhood and youth little is known. Having received his preliminary education in his own State, he entered Yale College, where he graduated. During his journeyings to and from Yale he made the acquaintance of one destined to be for long years his friend and neighbor, and to follow him to the tomb at an interval of but thirteen days. This was the late Wm. B. Jacques, who often spoke of the gravity and sedateness beyond his years of the young Maverick, whom he had first known in the morning of life.

"At this time Mr. Maverick's friends looked forward to the time when he should become a leading man, and he himself was ambitious to excel and to take a political stand. But his views were diametrically opposed to the nullification ideas of the Carolinians, and he could not compromise with his opinions. He was not a disciple of Calhoun, though personally an admirer of the transcendent talent of that great statesman. Finding himself in politics directly at variance with all his neighbors, he left the State. An incident growing out of this difference had, no doubt, an important part in determining him to such a step as emigration, then much less common than now. His father on one occasion, after having answered Mr. Calhoun in a speech of great power, was made the subject of some intemperate remarks, which his son resented by challenging the utterer of them. In the encounter he wounded his antagonist, and afterwards nursed him until his recovery. With our knowledge of the man, never shrinking from personal risk, we may well imagine that the painful necessity of chastising the aggressor on this occasion, had great influence in his decision to leave South Carolina. Previous to this he had studied law under Henry St. George Tucker at Winchester, Virginia, and had been admitted to practice at the bar of his own State.

"He first moved to Alabama, and thence, in 1834, to Texas, arriving at San Antonio in 1835. In the fall of that year Messrs. Maverick, Jno. W. Smith and P. B. Cocke were arrested by Col. Ugartachea, commanding the Mexican troops occupying the city. During their incarceration they contrived to keep up intelligence with Gen. Burleson, who commanded the Texas army then investing the town. On one occasion these three gentlemen were sentenced on suspicion to be shot, and were actually marched to the place of execution, then Mrs. Smith, now the wife of Mr. James B. Lee, living on the Medina, appeared on the ground, fell upon the earth, embracing the feet of the Mexican commander, begging piteously for a further investigation of their case. The investigation was finally granted, and resulted in the clearing of the prisoners, who were, however, kept under close guard. They made their escape, nevertheless, and joined the Texan army. Early on the morning of the 5th of December, 1835, Col. Ben Milam attacked the city; S. A. Maverick as guide, with Milam at the head of the right division, moving down Soledad street to the de la Garza House—Johnson, commanding the left, marching down Acequia street to the same point, with Jno. W. Smith for guide. The cannon posted at the corner of the Main Plaza swept these streets. To procure water our troops took the Veramendi House by digging a trench of five feet in depth across the street during the night of the 5th, and so going back and forth with heads bent to avoid the grape shot. Of the seven hundred volunteers under Burleson at the Old Mill above town, only two hundred and fifty were under Milam—others joined two days later, but the greater number had gone home or to Goliad, where a force was then gathering to move against Matamoros. On the 8th, Milam was killed in the yard of the Veramendi House, being shot through the head; and by his side stood Mr. Maverick. On the 10th the Mexicans ran up the white flag of surrender. The Texan troops had fought incessantly night and day, and had taken all the square block of buildings fronting the north side of the Main Plaza, by digging through the walls of the houses from one to the other. Where the Plaza House now stands there lived the priest, Padre Garza; from this house the Texans made a charge and took and spiked the guns, the fire of which had been concentrated on that building and was fast crumbling it down. In this charge Col. Ward lost a leg, and the young Carolinian, Bonham, an eye. The Mexican gunners fled or were cut to pieces. This was on the morning of the 10th, and was followed by the capitulation of Gen. Cos, who was permitted to retire with his troops across the Rio Grande.

"Mr. Maverick's absence on March 6th, 1836, the day of the massacre of the Alamo, was due to his being sent a delegate to the Convention of the people of Texas. In which capacity he, on the 2nd day of March, signed the Declaration of Independence; the Hon. Jose Antonio Navarro being the other delegate from the municipality of Bexar, also present and signing.

"After the battle of San Jacinto, the result of which secured the safety of Texas, for a time at least, Mr. Maverick returned to Alabama, where he married in August of the same year, and in 1838, returned to San Antonio with his family.

"In March, 1842, Gen. Vasquez invaded western Texas, entering San Antonio with nine hundred men. On this occasion, Mr. Twohig blew up his store to prevent the ammunition it contained from falling into the hands of the enemy. The few American families then living in San Antonio had made good their escape in time, retiring to the Brazos river. The family of Mr. Maverick did not return to San Antonio until 1847.

"On the 12th day of September of the same year, the District Court being in session, a Mexican citizen, now dead, was visited by some of countrymen, known to be in the Mexican service; from them he ascertained that Gen. Woll was close at hand with a force of fourteen hundred men. This intelligence he communicated to Don Antonio Manchaca, who lost no time in making it known to Judge Hutchison. The few troops stationed in San Antonio immediately withdrew, but the American citizens, with the members of the bar, the presiding judge at their head, decided on defending the place; Mr. Maverick, who was urgent in favor of this course, declaring that they ought to set an example of resistance, and that whatever might be their fate, they would at least check the advance of the enemy, and give time for succor to arrive from the few and scattered settlements which existed at that day in western Texas. They accordingly, in the night of Saturday, the 12th, took up their position on the flat roof of the building known as Maverick's, forming the corner of Commerce and Soledad streets, and commanding all the entrances to the Main Plaza. This little band numbered fifty three Americans and one Mexican, Mr. Manchaca, who had served through the War of Independence, from Bexar to San Jacinto, and was especially marked for vengeance by Santa Anna. Soon after daylight, in a thick fog, the Mexican troops entered the Main Plaza, music in front, little expecting the reception which awaited them. A pealing volley from the Texan rifles checked their march, and before Woll could withdraw them, fourteen were slain outright and twenty-seven wounded. Having placed his men under cover, Gen. Woll brought up two six-pounder guns, and being well advised of the numerical weakness of the Texans, made his disposition for surrounding them and cutting off their escape. On the roof of the Dwyer House, on the southeast corner of the Plaza, he posted thirty-five Cushatta Indians, who formed part of his force. Another detachment crossed the river and took post near the large pecan tree, in front of the barracks. The east bank was guarded by cavalry, also, and preparations of the Mexican commander being now complete, he sent an officer, with a flag to summon the little band to surrender as honorable prisoners of war, adding, that if the conditions offered were not accepted within ten minutes he would advance on them with the bayonet. During the fire of musketry and artillery to which they were exposed while Woll was posting his troops, it is singular that not one of the little band of Texans was hit; they were partially covered by the low parapet of the flat-roofed house. The only one of them who received any injury was Mr. Manchaca, who was struck in the knee by a fragment of stone detached by a round shot, from the effects of which he walks lame to this day. Resistance being evidently vain, the small band surrendered, and were, on the retreat of Woll, marched to the Castle of Perote and there imprisoned, under circumstances of the greatest harshness.

"Gen. Woll has been generally and loudly denounced for breach of faith toward his prisoners; but it is not generally known that in sparing their lives he disobeyed the express orders of President Santa Anna to put to death every man taken with arms in his hands as a rebel and a traitor. These orders were shown by Woll, in 1863, to an intimate friend of Mr. Maverick (now present)—on which occasion he made many friendly inquiries for Maverick, Colquhoun, Twohig, and others by name. When asked why he had not defended his course by the publication of these orders, Woll replied that he himself owed, not only his life, under similar circumstances, to the intervention of Santa Anna, but also his position in the Mexican army, and that he could not, honorably, vindicate himself by the exposure of one to whom he owed so much.

"After the surrender of Maverick, Colquehoun, Twohig, Hutchinson, and their companions, Woll was utterly defeated, with great loss, five miles from San Antonio, on the Salado, by the Texans under Hays and Burleson, and without loss on their own side, if we except the La Grange company under Captain Dawson, which was surrounded by the Mexican troops in the prairie, while on the march to the rendezvous, and cut to pieces, seven only of their number escaping.

"On the 23rd Woll marched on his return to Mexico, carrying his citizen-prisoners with him. On the way, one of the number, Mr. Cunningham, died and was buried on the Leona. On their arrival at Perote they were subjected to the most humiliating and cruel treatment, being confined to cells and frequently chained two together, Major Colquhoun being, if I mistake not, Mr. Maverick's companion in these bonds of adversity. Of these they were relieved from time to time to work on a stone quarry, or on the road which Santa Anna was constructing to his palace of Tacubaya. I have seen the quondam prisoners smile grimly when allusion was made to the little work the Mexicans got out of the Texan captives. While they were here many attempts were made to bribe them with promises of office and favor, and Mr. Maverick particularly approached, on account of his influence in Bexar; but he, like his companions in captivity, had naught but scorn for their offers, which utterly failed to seduce them from their faith and allegiance to Texas.

"By the intercession of Waddy Thompson, then American minister to Mexico, and a relative of Mr. Maverick, the latter with Judge Wm. E. Jones and old Judge Hutchinson, were released in April, 1843; others were released at the instance of the British minister, while others, of whom the leader was Jno. Twohig, disdained to ask protection from either power, and manfully dug their way out of the fortress, making good their escape to Texas in the spring of 1844.

"The following extract from a report of a speech made by Gen. Waddy Thompson, at Greenville, South Carolina, in May, 1844, sets the conduct and character of Mr. Maverick during his captivity, in the most honorable light: 'Amongst the many interesting incidents which General Thompson mentioned there was one particularly so, as it related particularly to a gentleman born and educated in this neighborhood—Mr. Samuel A. Maverick—which, in the language of Gen. Thompson, was not only honorable to the man himself, but to human nature. Mr. Maverick was a young man of large fortune, with a young wife and three or four interesting children. When he arrived at his prison at Perote he wrote to Gen. Thompson, informing him that he was there, and in chains, but said that he neither asked nor expected any interposition from Gen. Thompson, as he considered that such interposition might not be proper, and only asking the General to convey some letters to his family. Gen. Thompson, nevertheless, set about obtaining his release, and as there was then a negotiation on foot for re-annexation of Texas to Mexico, Gen. Thompson wrote to Mr. Maverick, saying that if he was really in favor of such re-annexation, and would say so, he thought his release would certainly be granted, as he, Gen. Thompson would say to Santa Anna that any promise which Maverick made would certainly be complied with. Mr. Maverick replied: 'I regret that I cannot bring myself to think that it would be to the interest of Texas to re-unite with Mexico. This being my settled opinion, I cannot sacrifice the interest of my country even to obtain my liberty, still less can I say so when such is not my opinion, for I regard a lie as a crime, and one which I cannot commit. I must, therefore, make up my mind to wear my chains, galling as they are.' General Thompson said that the virtue and constancy of Regulus, which had immortalized his name, did not excel this; and he felt a special pride in this heroic virtue because Mr. Maverick was a South Carolinian, his neighbor, and the kinsman of his kinsmen.'

"I have dwelt at length on the history of the taking of San Antonio, and the adventures of the prisoners taken there, as they constitute the last episode of the Texas-Mexican war, of which San Antonio was the theatre, and they may give some idea of the dangers and hardships to which the old Texans were exposed.

"During his captivity Mr. Maverick was elected by his fellow citizens of Bexar to the Senate. On his return he found his family at La Grange, all sick; after moving them to the coast, near Decrows Point, he returned to South Carolina to procure means to meet obligations which he had assumed in many instances for the relief of his more necessitous companions in captivity. He gradually sold his property elsewhere and invested in Texas lands. In 1847 he returned to San Antonio, where he continued to reside up to the time of his death, September 2nd of this year.

"In 1838 he took out his law license in San Antonio. From 1838 until 1842 he was one of Hays' minute men, and often followed the trail of the marauding Indians under that celebrated chieftain. He accompanied his old leader, in 1848, on his expedition to open route from San Antonio to El Paso del Norte. On this memorable trip they lost their way, and were at the point of starvation, one man actually perishing of hunger; when they were guided by Indians to San Elizario, on the Rio Grande, where they found food and rest. Their route back from El Paso established the present road by Devil's river, Fort Stockton and Fort Davis.

"And now I approach an era in Mr. Maverick's life without a notice of which I should signally fail of doing justice to his character. We have seen that in 1834 he was driven by his opposition to nullification in South Carolina, to seek a home elsewhere. In 1860 he appeared on the stage of public events an ardent, zealous, and fearless advocate of secession—and in this there was no inconsistency; a Union man as long as the Union guaranteed and protected the dignity and sovereignty of the States which composed it, and the rights of their citizens; he advocated and strove for secession when he saw that these rights could not be maintained in the Union, and that the Constitution had failed to be the Aegis its framers had fondly hoped it to be. A scholar, his mind was too well versed in historic lore, and his intellect too right in the wisdom which deduces lessons for our guidance in the present from the annals of the past, not to know that revolutions once arrived at a certain point, continue to progress at increasing speed. A true Republican, he foresaw innovations which would substitute the will of the majority for the rights of the minority, and which would change the whole fabric of the government and institutions for which his fathers and himself had periled their lives.

"In February, 1861, as one of the three Commissioners of the Committee of Public Safety, he was charged with the delicate duty of procuring the removal of the United States troops from the State of Texas—and that all this was effected without bloodshed, and with so little of inconvenience or humiliation to the officers and men who had so long been friends among us, constitutes one of his highest titles to the respect and gratitude of his fellow citizens. And a very little acquaintance with the situation of affairs at the time will satisfy anyone, whatever views he may entertain on the question of accession, that but for this action of the Commissioners, civil war would have been inaugurated in the State; the Federal troops, numerous, well equipped and well commanded, forming a nucleus for an army composed of the forces which the Governor had already commanded to organize for the maintenance of Federal authority. No one who knows the feelings which prevailed throughout Texas can doubt that the Union army would soon have succumbed, but I repeat, that to the prudent yet energetic action of the Commissioners, and of their coadjutors, Texas owes it that no blood was then shed within her borders, and that she escaped the horrors of war which devastated her sister States.

"With this closed the public functions of Mr. Maverick, which he had exercised in various capacities from the memorable day when he affixed his signature to the Declaration of Independence, and always with credit to himself and advantage to his constituents; his public services in either House. In convention, or in any capacity whatever, being rendered with a disinterestedness and freedom from all personal and party considerations; which I trust will yet again be imitated in the legislative halls of our State.

"From this imperfect sketch of the life of our lamented associate it may be understood what manner of man he was. In all the qualities which constitute the true gentleman he was confessedly pre-eminent. Truthful to a punctilio, no man can say that he ever used equivocal language, and his sincerity was testified to by the confidence he commanded from all who knew him. And of those who enjoyed that privilege, who is there who does not remember to admire that courtesy of the old school which is fast passing away.

"Prudent and considerate, he never said of the absent one word, which uttered in their presence, could have wounded or pained them. Modest and retiring to a fault, he ever manifested that forgetfulness of his own comfort and convenience which is the true test of good breeding.

"His personal bravery was as patent as the sun at noonday. In moral courage he knew no superior. From that hour of jeopardy, when he signed the Declaration of Independence, to the last public act of his life, there was no hesitation, no wavering, no consideration of risk to person or property.

"It has been said, and not without truth—alas for the perversity of human nature!—that no man of worth can live without making enemies; this may be so, but if it be, Mr. Maverick's case furnishes the exception, which, according to the old scholastic dictum, proves the rule; for manifold as were the occasions which his vast landed possessions and his public functions at various times furnished for collision with the interests and passions of others, I verily believe he passed from earth without leaving on its surface a single personal enemy. Not that he courted popularity, for no man ever lived more independent of the prejudices and fashions of the world, and many personal peculiarities stamped him with an individuality all his own. And if, on rare occasions, amid the turmoil of civil commotion and revolutionary license, some pigmy of a hostile press sought to cast a stain on the record of this good man, 'twas but the homage he paid to virtues which he could never aspire to emulate.

"It may be thought by some that he was close and penurious, that he loved money more than the world deems right; but in this opinion the world, as is often the case, was very much mistaken. Those who knew him best, his oldest and most intimate friends, knew him to be most liberal and most generous when a worthy object of expenditure offered. True, he was careful and prudent in the management of his affairs; he was frugal and unostentatious in his habits, and he carried into practice his philosophic scorn of the gewgaws of fashion and of display. Years ago, when sickness and distress pressed hard on the poorer classes in San Antonio, secretly, and as a thief in the night, Mr. Maverick came unto the then mayor of the city, bearing something under his cloak—that cloak which, among the older inhabitants may be remembered as an historical relic—drawing forth the hidden object, Mr. Maverick in his peculiar hurried manner begged his honor to undertake the distribution among the necessituous of a thousand dollars, his contribution in this time of suffering, and above all, to say nothing of it.

"Such was the penuriousness of this good man, 'who did by stealth, and would have blushed to find it fame.' Would to God there were more misers of this stamp among us!

"I would sum up his character in the words of one who witnessed his first appearance at the bar of this District Court, and who formed one of the long procession which bore him to the tomb: "Mr. Maverick's distinguishing characteristics were still the same through life; quiet, sedate, courteous, gentle and dignified; none knew him but to respect and admire him. More eminently just and dispassionate than brilliant and captivating, mature age found him a venerated exemplar of all the highest virtues.'

"Thus I have feebly, but truthfully, sought to sketch for you the life and character of our late associate. His honored head has been laid in the grave; the place which knew him shall know him no more forever; but his services to Texas and his sufferings in her behalf are a part of her history. His virtues shine forth as a light to the feet of those who seek to tread the path of life with honor to themselves and with benefit to their fellows.

"To this Society he leaves the signal honor of having inscribed his name on the roll of its founders, and the task of rearing on the site, which you owe to his munificence, an edifice which may do honor to the donor and credit to your young Association, the Alamo Literary Society; a task in which I trust you will be aided by the wealthier members of the community.

"To the inheritors of his name he has bequeathed a heritage richer than broad lands more precious than fine gold—the name of a just, an upright and a conscientious man, of one who never compromised with his convictions, who never bowed the knee to expediency; and let them ever remember that the name they bear has long been a synonym for honor, integrity and truth."

Mrs. Mary Adams Maverick, widow of Samuel A. Maverick, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, March 16, 1818, and died at San Antonio, Texas, February 24, 1898, having attained the age of fourscore years, lacking a few days.

J. Marvin Hunter, Frontier Times, April, 1928

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