Sunday, November 6, 2016

When horse meat is all you have …

In the late 1820s, Texas settler Noah Smithwick and three friends set out from Bell’s Landing with 1,000 pounds of illegal tobacco in 10 bales, planning on selling the contraband farther south. The government in Mexico City had declared coffee and tobacco contraband, with the government itself the only legal seller of both. The non-governmental market, therefore, was quite lucrative.

“The first town we struck on the Rio Grande was Laredo. Finding that some other trader had got in ahead of us and stocked the market, we proceeded on up the river to find fresh territory. On the way up one of those interminable Texas rains set in, and we were compelled to strike camp and cover up our tobacco. We ran out of food, and, there being no settlements near and no game but wild horses, the very thought of eating which sickened me, there was prospective famine, at least for me. The other boys had been in Texas long enough to get rid of any fastidious notions about clean and unclean beasts, so when provisions ran out they killed a mustang and were provisioned for a siege.” -- The Evolution of a State, Noah Smithwick.

On the third day of his self-imposed famine, Smithwick tried a bite of horse and decided survival overrode his, as he put it, “fastidious notions.”

No comments:

Post a Comment