Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 151 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
father-in-law. his wife and his little jewels, given
to him by the God his pious mother had taught
him to reverence and to love as " Him who doeth
all things well," and chasteneth those he loveth;
and now, standing as a monument of Omnipotent
mercy, alone of all his blood in Texas, all he asked
of his country was the privilege, under its agis, of
serving it in the field, where his name might be
honorably associated with the brave and the true
in rescuing this fair and lovely land from the grasp
of a remorseless military despotism.
The effect was magical. Not an indecorous or
undignified word fell from his lips--not an ungraceful
movement or gesture
but there he
stood, before the astonished council and spectators,
the living exemplification of a natural orator.
He tarried not, but left, satisfied that in the more
perfect organization of the government he would
receive generous consideration, and returned to
San Antonio, soon to be immured in a sick room a
dark, little, cell-shaped room in the Alamo
there, after a siege of thirteen days, to be perhaps
the last of the hundred and eighty-three martyrs to
yield up his life for his country.
It was never my fortune to meet Col. Bowie, but
I eajoyed close associations, in youth and early
manhood, with many good men, who knew him
long and well. Their universal testimony was that
he was one of nature's noblemen, inflexible in
honor, scorning double-dealing and trickery
sincere and frank friend, kind and gentle in intercourse,
liberal and generous, loving peace and
holding in almost idolatry woman in her purity.
He tolerated nowhere, even among the rudest men,
anything derogatory to the female sex, holding
them as "but a little lower than the angels." In
the presence of woman he was a model of dignity,
deference and kindness, as if the better elements
of his nature were led captive at the shrine of true
womanhood. But, when aroused under a sense of
wrong, and far more so for a friend than for himself,
"he was fearful to look upon," and a dangerous
man to the wrong-doer. In 1834 Capt. Wm.
Y. Lacey spent eight months in the wilderness with
him, and in after years wrote me saying: "He
was not in the habit of using profane language and
never used an indecent or vulgar word during the
eight months I passed with him in the wilderness.
I could multiply testimonials to his great worth,
including the exalted opinion of Henry Clay, but
space forbids. Many interesting incidents are
One estimate, however, is added. Capt. Wm.
G. Hunt wrote some years ago that he first met
Col. Bowie and his wife (then en route to Louisiana)
at a party given them on the Colorado, on
Christmas day, 1831; that "MIrs. Bowie was a
beautiful Castilian lady, and won all hearts by
her sweet manners. Bowie seemed supremely
happy with and devoted to her, more like a kind
and tender lover than the rough backwoodsman
he has since been represented to be."
Is it not a shame that such a man, by the merest
fiction and love of the marvelous, should, for half
a century after his glorious death, be held in the
popular mind of his country as at least a quasidesperado
brave, truly, but a rough, coarse man,
given to broils and affrays? The children of
Texas, at least, should know his true character,
and, in some important aspects, emulate it. By
doing so they will make better men than by swallowing
much of the sensational literature now corrupting
the youth of the land. No boy taking
Bowie as a model will ever become an undutiful
son, a faithless husband, a brutal father, a treacherous
friend or an unpatriotic citizen.
P. S. After the foregoing had been widely
published, North and South, an attache of the
Philadelphia Press sought to revive and wonderfully
add to the old slanders of desperadoism, by
publishing a real or pretended interview with as
vile an impostor as ever appeared in historic
matters, attaching to the name of Bowie crimes and
acts never before heard of.
Some years ago the Philadelphia Times published
a tissue of falsehoods about the campaign
and battle of San Jacinto by a pretended participant,
who had never been in that section, but was
really a reformed gambler. I exposed the fraud in
a courteous letter to the Times, which it refused
When the interview hereafter referred to appeared
in the Philadelphia Press, on the 3d of October, a
venerable and noble citizen of that city sent me a
copy and urged that I should send him an exposure
of its falsehoods, saying he would have it published
in the Times.
I did so promptly, but it was not published.
Under conspicuous head lines appeared the interview
in question in regard to the Alamo, Bowie,
etc. Of the impostor the interviewer says: "
In 1814 Samuel G. Bastian was born in this
city, at the southwest corner of Front and Spruce
streets. When he was ten years of age his father,
who was a gunsmith, removed to Alexandria, in
Louisiana, and to-day, after an absence of sixtythree
years, the son revisits his birthplace, a stalwart
man despite his seventy-seven years. His
career has been a most eventful one. He is with
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/151/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .