Characterization of the Acadian People
by Michele Doucettte

According to author Bona Arsenault re HISTORY OF THE ACADIANS (page 94), Captain Brooke Watson, an English Officer who took part in the embarkation of the Acadians for exile in 1755, wrote:

"They were an honest, hard-working, sober and virtuous people ... rarely did quarrels arise among them. In summer the men were continually at work on their farms; in winter, they were engaged in cutting wood for their fuel and fences, and in hunting."

"The women spent their time carding, spinning and weaving wool, flax and hemp which this country furnished in plenty. These articles, with the fur of bear, beaver, fox, otter and marten provided them not only with comfortable, but often with tasteful garments."

"They also procured for them other necessary or useful objects by means of exchange-trade they carried on with the French (of Louisbourg) and the English (of Boston). There were few houses without a cask of French wine. They had no other dyes than black and green; but to obtain red, of which they were remarkably fond, they got English red stuffs, which they cut up, ravelled out, carded, spun and wove into strips to adorn the women's dresses."

"Their country was so rich in provisions that, as I have heard, an ox could be bought for fifty shillings, a sheep for five, and a bushel of wheat for eighteen pence."

"Young men were not encouraged to marry unless the young girl could weave a piece of cloth, and the young man make a pair of wheels. These accomplishments were deemed essential for their marriage settlement, and they hardly needed anything else, for every time there was a wedding the whole village contributed to set up the newly-married couple. They built a house for them, and cleared enough land for their immediate needs; they gave them livestock and poultry; and nature, seconded by their own labor, soon put them in a position to help others."

"I have never heard of marital infidelity among them. Their long cold winters were spent in the pleasures of joyous hospitality. As they always had plenty of firewood, their houses were always comfortable. Rustic songs and dancing were their principal amusement."


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