Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
This is an excellent reference Yulzari! Thank you.
I feared we had expended the viability of our powder here, so I am grateful to see entry continuing. It seems this reference describes the dynamic of 'exposure' being an element of powder losing its potency, in the case mentioned after about 12 days. That would bring the earlier suggestion of keeping the ingredients of the powder kept separate until required, not only for safety, but clearly to ensure freshly mixed powder.
I am puzzled by the term 'barbarous' as describing a 'weak' powder. Such a term would seem more toward a potent, threatening condition rather than 'weak'. I wonder if the connotation (as used here in 1832) would mean rough, rugged or uncivilized in the way 'gothic' meant rude or contrary to refined in architectural parlance. Thus meaning the Bombay powder was rudely mixed and ineffective.
If the Mexicans were indeed getting powder from British sources, just as they obtained their firearms in 1821, perhaps the British were selling them the apparently miserable Bombay powder as opposed to the other more refined powder. This was often the case, obviously, with trade arms and resources and the practice continued well through the 19th c. Mediocre quality locks and complete weapons often brought ill repute to the places that produced them.
As earlier noted, it sounds as if the Mexicans were attempting to secure better quality powder through New Orleans merchants who probably carried the highly regarded Dupont....as revealed in the cargo of the Pelican.