On July 30, 1676, almost exactly one century prior to a similar but nobler event, a declaration was signed on the shores of the New World rejecting the rule of “parasites.” The signers of this declaration, both black and white, free and indentured, were led by a plantation owner named Nathaniel Bacon. Their unity under Bacon was based not upon the universal rights of man but upon the extermination of the American Indian.
To quell the murder-spree of these nearly 500 armed rebels, the Royal Governor of Virginia, from exile, sent for a company of British regulars.
The food aboard the troop-ship spoiled well before they arrived and the stomachs of the soldiers were growling when they finally reached the Virginia tidewaters. Finding the government ineffectual and the normal means of society in chaos, the Captain ordered his battery to fend for themselves around colonial Jamestown.
They scoured the hills looking for anything left of the fall foliage that was green enough to boil into a salad and they pleasantly discovered an abundance of one particular shrub that grew along the roadsides. Its white flowers made it easy to spot and the soft leaves released a gamey scent when broken.
With their bellies filled they went to sleep. By the end of the next day, each man who had partaken of the meal was confined to a cell: Quartermaster Higgins sat upon a stool, blowing a feather into the air for hours at a time. Chosen Men Smythe and Clarke licked their hands while staring menacingly into each other’s eyes. Sergeant-Major William rolled naked on the straw, laughing hysterically.
A dozen others exhibited like behavior.
It took eleven days for these effects of the “Jamestown Weed” to wear off, after which they remembered nothing and returned to suppressing Bacon’s Rebellion.