Posts Tagged ‘Jamestown’

Why is it so shocking, I wonder, that far-flung colonists adrift in a strange and lonely land, lacking supplies and support, might in desperation turn to nibbling on their deceased neighbors?  I have caSkepticalught wind of the news today that archaeologists have uncovered proof that the courageous and beset Jamestown colonists most likely resorted to acts of cannibalism in an attempt to keep themselves alive during the devastating winter of 1609.  This revelation has caused much ruckus in the various news reporting venues, although I do not believe it is actually much of a surprise to many.  I recall perusing an account from Colonial Williamsburg from several years ago on the same topic that all but certified it had happened; it is a most fascinating document and full of vivid details, I must warn you.

Gentle readers, I trust that we are all adults here and know well the difficulties which can befall humankind.  I do not believe that given a choice between certain starvation and the prospect of scavenging some small life-sustaining nourishment from passed-on fellow travelers, that any of us would cheerfully choose self-annihilation.  I do believe that we would, after considering all alternatives, do what was necessary to keep ourselves going.  The poor souls who may have been recycled, shall we say, were already gone from this mortal plane and served even more nobly than they themselves could have known — or indeed would have wanted to know, we must assume. 

Pondering our own demise is not a pleasant task, but when there are means to ethically — and indeed what the Jamestown settlers did was most ethical — prolong ourselves for another day, to continue on our appointed task, we would be shirking our humanity to back away from the challenge.

That being said, most fortunately I never was in such a position nor was anyone I knew, though most assuredly times were equally as desperate during The War for Independence but I do not recall hearing even a hint of anything resembling cannibalism among the troops.   My fervent wish is that none of you ever have any need of such measures either. 


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