Lucy Brown ’23: Book IX, Chapter XVIII (Of the Tree Called Maria)

Book IX, Chapter XVIII

Of the tree called maria.

Translated by Lucy Brown ’23

Maria is one of the large trees on the island of Hispaniola, and its name is very sacred. Furthermore, the Indians do not pronounce the name like we do. They say it differently, because after they have said mari they pause briefly between the penultimate and the last syllable. This is good wood, and they make very nice canoes (which are the Indian boats) from it. I had one in this city that would bring me thirty bushels of corn in addition to some cords of wool and fodder and other things from a property of mine upriver, rowed by seven or eight black men. Unloaded, it could carry more than thirty people. There are some that are more than double the size, made from the wood of a single tree. It is not as good for building as other woods, because it does not last as long outside the water. Its fruit is neither good nor edible but rather bitter, and it is not fit for men to eat.

Image retrieved from John Carter Brown Library at Brown University