There has been lately discovered in these parts a poisonous root, much resembling, in color and substance, a common carrot. When broke it has a pleasing smell; but between the flakes may be observed a yellowish juice, which is supposed to be the poison. Of four soldiers that had eaten of it in their soup lately, two were difficultly preserved by dint of antidotes; the other two died in the utmost agonies of pain, and convulsions of frenzy. One of them was found in the woods sticking by the head in a softish ground, into which he had driven it, probably in the excess of his torture. Such a vegetable must afford matter of curious examination to a naturalist; for as it does so much harm, it may also be capable of great good, if sought into by proper experiments.
The spirit of turpentine is much used by the inhabitants. The gum itself is esteemed a great vulnerary; and purges moderately those who are full of bilious, or gross humors.
For the rest there is, I believe, hardly any sort of grain, tree, or vegetable, especially in the north of France that might not be successfully raised in Acadia. The rains are frequent in every season of the year. There are indeed often violent squalls of wind, especially from the South, and seem the West, but nothing like the hurricanes in the West-Indies. It is a great rarity if thunder does any mischief. Some years ago there was a man killed in his hut by it; but the oldest men of the country never remembered to have known or heard of any thing like it before. There have been earthquakes felt but rarely, and not very violent. This country produces no venomous beasts, at least, that I could hear of. In the warmer season there are sometimes found snakes, not, however, thicker than one’s finger, but their bite is not known to be attended with any fatal consequences, There are no tygers, nor lions, nor other beasts of prey to be afraid of unless bears, and that only in their rutting-time, and even then it is very rare that they attack. As there are then no carnivorous animals except the lynxes, who have a beautiful skin, and these rarely fall upon any living creatures; the sheep, oxen, and cows, are turned out into the woods or commons, without any fear for them. Partridges are very common, and are large-sized, with flesh very white. The hares are scarce, and have a white fur. There are a great many beavers, elks, cariboux, (moose-deer) and other beasts of the cold northern countries.
The original inhabitants of this country are the savages, who may be divided into three nations, the Mickmakis, the Maricheets, or Abenaquis, (being scarcely different nations) and the Canibats.