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Memorial 11 - Señor : el capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quiros : cincuenta meses ha que estoy en esta Corte, suplicande a V.M. se sirua mandar me vaya a poblar las tierras que V.M. me mandò descubrir

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Eleventh in the series of fourteen known Quirós' presentation memorials. Quirós wrote about fifty memorials addressed to the King Philip III of Spain describing the wonders of the lands he had discovered and requesting Royal support to organize a new expedition to the Southern hemisphere. The majority of them were manuscripts, but fourteen were printed between 1607 and 1614 at Quirós' expense for presentation at the Council of the Indies. These so-called "presentation memorials" - to be distinguished from later derivative printings which appeared throughout Europe after the leaking of one of the original Memorials - are among the most valuable of all printed Australiana. According to Kelly in this eleventh presentation memorial Quirós, after having spent 50 months at Court, argues again the benefits of a settlement in the Austral Lands, both in the spiritual and temporal spheres, the necessity of having administrative personnel and pleads for a dispatch to his satisfaction, reminding the King that the fleet for Tierra Firme leaves in December.

Transcript: 

My Lord I, Captain Pedro Fernández de Quirós, have been in this Court for 50 months, begging Y.M. to send me back on a journey to populate the territoriesthat Y.M. sent me to discover. I mentioned their greatness, their diverse peoples and riches of different kinds that are very necessary for Spain, and how within the Torrid and Temperate areas (I exclude the Frigid) its extension may accommodate many more lands, peoples and riches than those that seem within reach, which is proved by samples, speeches and the news. I demonstrated the dangers that they run in the present and future in matters related to Evangelical doctrine, as well as in mattersrelated to Y.M.. I warned that if the enemiesthat come and go from Terrenate in fifty‐league span fleets of twelve and more ships populate the area first, either Y.M. will have to expel them or leave them there, and that the former will cost a large sum in silver and men and the latter will result in their loss. I said that by spending only five hundred thousand ducats in Perú, Y.M. will win and secure all the goods of both gendersthat this great mission involves, and will avoid all possible evils, damages, losses and scandals that could ensue and spread over the two Indies (East and West) reaching Spain and lasting very long, perhaps for ever, completely or partially. I stated how important it is to establish that population hastily, with royal funds rather than from other sources.

My reasoning was that whoever spends 500,000 ducats will take 1 million in profits for themselves and will start 100 million evils without remedy, and if this expenditure were made by four or more parties, each one of them will want as much, and perhaps all of them will force Y.M. to spend on tempering their greed and cruelty; I mean more money and men than what I request should be spent only once in the mission. I said that even though those territories may be as extended as they appear to be, Y.M. should not pay any salaries in them – as is done in the Indies – to spiritual and temporal government ministers of justice, finance and war, soldiers and sailors, or others to whom Y.M. usually pays. If royal monies are not spent on foundations, building and decorating churches, convents, colleges, seminaries, hospitals, royal houses and castles, or on supporting their inhabitants and servants, and because of all these and other factories on land and sea, Y.M.’s obligations will be many, well built and finished more hastily, in the same way as those belonging to the community. I stated that public office will be Y.M.’s reward for great services performed by persons who – due to the good methods employed in their selection – will receive sufficient income to support themselves without rights. With secret care to gain knowledge about the lives, and certain and hasty punishment to those who misuse them, it should be believed that they will not only be wise at exercising their duties, but will also stay faithful and diligent as required. Moreover, the sale of such positions will be prevented, which is one of the greatest evils that Kingdoms can have, and one of the greatest benefits that the latter can receive, thus preventing Y.M. from losing anything.

On the contrary, so much will be gained as I can prove later. I showed how in those territories, in the Indies, in Spain and in all the states ruled by Y.M., and even in the rest of the world, there may be no civil lawsuits of any sort because they are not uncommon, and since there will be less criminals with such manner of investigation, that the truth will be discovered promptly. If it cannot, no innocents should suffer or die, nor should the peoples be scandalised at how easily lives, honour, freedom and assets are taken, nor at how human beings are tormented, which is so contrary to Y.M.’s Christian mercy, not only for what they are in themselves, but also for the many enormous and continuous offences against God and the poor. A certain person told me that it would subvert the whole Canon and Civil Law machine. I say that there should be a way for the law to stay straight, so that it can be neither tilted nor twisted, a way in which the peoples will secure their part and traps will be avoided, as well as the evils born from them, which we see that very few escape from. I stated how offences against the law and vices will be punished in those territories, mainly idleness without reserve or respect; how virtue will be greatly rewarded, all common needs will be addressed and peoples will be helped and guided. Since this is currently not the case, there is infinite loss and damage. In short, charity will become the norm and will be fervently exercised in equal share.

I stated that it is convenient that ecclesiastic and secular people be sent from Spain, the former to help the conscience and the latter to contribute their science and experience at war, sea and business, people whom I can seek advice from and whom I can entrust the first positions and cases that will be offered in the discourse without suspicion, of such importance and consideration as it is explained; and if I were missing, the work will thus be set on firm ground on such good columns that can support it in peace and justice until Y.M. decides on a different course of action, considering that such work will be worthy of prevention and repair, for it is only on such an endeavour that the greater good of those territories rests upon, and the greatest evils would be brought about by its absence – with the addition of the most needed experts and skilled workers. I warned that since those are such fertile, healthy and rich lands, I fear vices will take over, and I summon virtue, its foil, and I look for the good of others in the event of my death, whether this is believed or not. I mentioned the great benefit that Perú will receive by removing the surplus population, and how I could not choose the heads that I took when I went on my discovery voyage, and how expensive this will be if God does not fix it. It was of great value that all the people were not from the one nation. I spoke about the quantity of ships of all capacity that can be built in those lands for their own transport and trade in all the Southern seas, with great comforts, advantages, defence and security for all of them, and exactly as I want, there may be several distinguished navigation officers who are worthy of honours and prizes for their ingenuity and subtlety, and for their hard work and advantage – a detail that mattersimmensely to Y.M.

From those territories, I offered to discover the Anian strait in secret, because if it exists, the situation requires a solution, and if it does not, we will know for certain that via that territory the Indies cannot experience potential damage from the enemiesthat have looked for them five times. This will be done without having to pay the 20,000 ducats of perpetual rent that were requested from Y.M. for having discovered it with four completely prepared and armed ships and people on long‐term pay – briefly, without cost to Y.M. I demonstrated that if the population in the Indies could guide their government as appropriately as possible, Y.M. would receive an income of more than 150 million nowadays, and it would be possible to enjoy other infinite blessings from heaven in them and for them, and that if Y.M. received only an eighth of such income, it would still be more than what Y.M. receivesfrom all his kingdoms from here and there – a detail worth noting and considering, even weeping for, and last but not least to learn from. I demonstrated how to reform the Indies easily, at no cost to Y.M., and how to start an inestimable service to God and great increases in revenue, and how the Indians will become good Christians, political and rich – a highly convenient and necessary thing – so that the revenue will always be there and the Indians will become self‐sufficient and obtain the goods that they do not have, and of the very many that will generally be obtained Spain will receive its part. I also demonstrated how this could well be extended and directed all over Guinea, and I will demonstrate what I have written on the matter, as well as on how to take black population to the Indies.

I said and still say that everything that was stated is convenient for those Southern Indies because they will become the key, the relief and restoration for the Eastern and Western Indies, and all three of them will spur Spain, which is the firmest column of the Catholic Church, and this will suffice. Moreover, in that way all their fifths1 and royal rights will come to Y.M. from them cleanly and by just means, and I have shown how they will be many and lasting. In short, Sir, I demonstrated that Y.M. needs to acquire those kingdoms to preserve the current possessions and to avoid the represented, warned and reminded dangers. 1 The Spanish word is quinto, and it refers to the tax that was paid on crops or income, equivalent to one-fifth of the total. I have demonstrated that Y.M. is the richest and most powerful King and lord in the world, and I have proved it, for I have heard and still hear that so much poverty abounds that if I had not experienced the opposite as I had, this would have been enough to speak out of turn and to drop a great load that I have been carrying upon my slim shoulders for seventeen years, for the necessary credit with friends and foes, as well as for many other causes that are convenient for me to speak about and for Y.M. to listen. Many other things have I demonstrated, and many more can I demonstrate, and each one of them is priceless. I wonder, how much are they worth all together?

I said and still say that I was able to put them into practice, and can put them into practice still because God gave me the good fortune of Y.M.’s mission, and had I been helped from far back and in the Court given the dispatch I requested so many times and that Y.M. commanded, those peoples would be now enjoying God’s mercy and Spain a great return; I want the lands secured. Y.M., without the great precautions that should be taken against their dangers, and if not, let one enemy ship sail there (if there are not many close by or already in there). For this reason, I see disturbances, losses, damages and great expense for them as well as for us, and all of these should be paid by whoever caused them. I finally said and say that whatever Y.M. commands shall be and that I am a vassal to Y.M. and Y.M. is King and Lord of this vassal. The substance of this cause, its justification in general and in particular, I refer to the many memorials and reminders that I submitted, to my connections, to written history, to what I can say, to words, to authentic information and certifications, to lettersfrom ministers, to Y.M.’s letters patent, to the Papal Pontiff’s brief documents, to what common people say, to the favours that God did to the cause and to me in particular, to a gathering of mathematicians and pilots and of practical people, and to anything else that was sent for, asked for and wished.

This I say, for all that was raised and paid in small and large amounts for the good of this mission was not enough to let it go its course, and it sufficed that someone – I do not know who could dare do it, without any trace of love, fear or pain towards those souls that have been lost – made it stop for no reason, maintaining that if there were a reason, I would not come to this Court, and ever since I came that I would not stay for fifty months of continuous penury, but only for a day, because it is here that I discovered the thread against me. However, my truth does not fear. On its account and on that of the mission of founding many cities of Christian and political government, there is a continuous practice of charity which stems from converting infinite souls, even from the rescue of those in Purgatory. All in all, it was in God’s honour, glory and triumph of His Holy Church that I did what has been, can be and will be seen in its just defence. To this conformity I gave Y.M. the above mentioned memorials, and their copies to ministers and religious dignitariesso that they would entrust this cause to God and would beg him to extricate it from the confusion and danger it was in and is still in, as well as for other reasons that are convenient for me to speak and for Y.M. to listen. Y.M. has ordered me to be dispatched to my satisfaction, and what I have always wanted and still want is the mission to be well guided and secured from here.

The dispatches I received are two unclear royal letters patents that lack the necessary power for Y.M.’s will to be carried out and for the mission to receive all that it deservesto its convenience. I replied and what was said in Y.M.’s name was that I had to wait for another year, which was the main reason – among others – that I ordered the current and penultimate memorial that I will submit to Y.M., together with the accompanying map of the world that I have drawn so that Y.M. can proclaim that – by understanding where its hidden quarter is located – he can claim against the loss of its inhabitants’ souls, born and unborn, and to remind them that while this monarchy declines, in the same way others have, God will show them how Y.M. can double his holy Church and secure it against greater damagesthat may loom ahead – a very good reason for Y.M. to suit himself and to agree to the dispatch that my humble and inopportune requests could not reach. I beg Y.M. to note and consider the thoughts of an incomparable King, the onslaught of Royal spirits, works of greater importance such as these. Such great satisfactions that reach the Imperial heavens from the earth and harass hell, when they are compared with all the riches from this world, were of no use and no purpose, no matter how the money earned on such a job, possibly lent for one year – or two at the most – would yield returns of several million in goods and gold, for centuries. In short, with the forgotten in Y.M.’s Royal house, and even with the crumbs from your Royal table, they can be purchased and there will be a surplus, and Y.M.’s honour and glory will be doubled, as well as the Empire.

Time and time again, I request Y.M. to gain what is given in heaven and earth to those who are jealous of God Almighty’s honour temporally and eternally, with God and the peoples and for the good of all souls. You may feel regret from the very same service and risk losing what was gained, and remember that by delivering benefits that take so long to those peoples, I never had nor have any regrets, nor is it my obligation only. Moreover, I volunteered to forfeit my rights and serve whoever Y.M. wishes to send as my master for free, an offer that to the best of my knowledge was never made before. I prove my great faith with this mission that I always served with love and no money, and without asking what I would receive for what I gave, and I never asked for anything except for what was essential to continue, in the certain knowledge that past discoverers were never denied what they wanted for themselves, nor did they employ others for what they worked in. It is true that I have not been less faithful or industrious; that I do not want any other prize but the work that is denied to me and that only this work can satisfy me; and I certify that if I knew other ways to force, I would use them, or a higher cause to represent. Y.M. can estimate from me what I have already given willingly, which was not half a cloak but all my assets, with disregard of what I could earn. I gave my efforts, 20,000 leagues of journey, 17 years of my life, everything in order to liberate the territories and peoples that I discovered from oblivion and danger, whose rescue I have argued for five times and defended thousands, being this one the most expensive and the one that must be conquered.

Finally, I ask whether my work is worth less because it was I who did it? And are the things I offer worth less because I am perceived as ignorant of their great value? Or is it because I forget how much some of them cost me, and how much others can cost me? Or is it because I give them graciously, beg and bother with them,suffer and say nothing? Or is it assumed that I do not deem myself a man to whom God gave such gifts that only one of them suffices to build, enlarge and perpetuate not only houses, lineages and homelands, but also Provinces, Kingdoms and Empires? It is no fable or dream, and it is acknowledged as true that I am right, and that I am owed clear and firm justice that is not given to me, and it is not fair that I should stand to lose for being loyal and for having given everything that God gave me. Y.M., please do not spurn what I offer again, which is no less than the protection of a new world, populated, rich and at its best. It is the security for all the Kingdoms that Y.M. has. It is my industriousness, my solicitousness, my thoughts – which are not shortsighted or wrongly founded – and finally my life, which is as much as I can give. If this seemstoo little, I will give half of what I am worthy of from God and will give it whole, and I will lastly sell myself so that a little mud can be purchased with my last monies to make a brick and a tile, and use it in such a pious edifice, and if I had more, I would offer more. I beg Y.M. to receive such bribes from me, which could be taken without scruple. I cannot lose such a mission within reason; a man that can give and offer and remember so much; those rich innocent do not deserve the avarice, the lack of care or the mistrust that I see, or the great evils they have, but living benefits of piety and help soon, otherwise they will be dammed and they do not understand. All I have said hereby and in all my writings is or is not true; it is or is not of importance; it is or is not convenient to the intended population; and it is to be done well or badly, early or late; and if Y.M. never intends it to be done, I beg Y.M. to open my eyes, for it is justice I ask for, so that it becomes mine or someone else’s. If what I ask for will be carried out, I want it to be quick and correct, for if it is bad it should not be started, and much has been done for the worse already.

But may God not allow it that I become the murderer in the infinite deaths of lives and souls, and of all the other innumerable temporal and eternal good, which would amount to a sure bad start, nor that my soul owes and pays to the extent of such enormous sin, such enormous pain and such enormous damage, for I do not ignore what is necessary to do good, nor is this what I seek to end several kinds of torment. In short, My Lord, what I say is what Augustus Caesar said: well done is quickly done, why wait? And offering to do it with only 500,000 ducats spent once in Perú, without keeping a single maravedí, to set up and continue this great work in the manner that I have explained, and also because I found and showed ways and means, such as setting up a government in those lands by means of God’s power that will secure everything possible, the natives’ spiritual and temporal affairs, with great advantage, and how Y.M. can gain, to a greater or lesser extent, what was lost in the Indies, which is infinite. I beg Y.M. to notice and consider this service well because it is worth as much as any of the others mentioned before, and as a prize for all of them, I beg Y.M. to summon the people whose names I will say, so that in their presence and in Y.M.’s Royal presence they will explain why they treated it so badly, that if the knowledge of how valuable this mission is were not alive in me as well as my love, with the wish to secure a great and firm beginning, a good middle and a better end, whatever it costs, it would be dead and buried, I would be forgotten and Y.M. badly served. Moreover, they should give the reasons that motivate them not to dispatch me as Y.M. commanded to my justified and convenient satisfaction, so that they can answer my questions and I can answer theirs.

In that way, the truth will be known and Y.M. will not be deceived, or I will not be deceived, and punishment will be given if deserved. Again I beg Y.M. to give me such a favour, at least to speak the way I speak, with the just feeling that will have served my good spirits, so much endless work, so many precautions and vigils, an unbending loyalty, a plain truth, such evident fineness, so much suffering and perseverance, with all the other things used, purchased, represented and wished for; if everything is to end here and the mission is deserted – a mission that pleases God, who will not let that happen – the conscience that bites and itches, people’s voices crying, the common good lost, the religious orders’ zeal, the wise and the pragmatists’ astonishment, the great conveniences and their strength, together with my justice – and this is no mean part. In short, My Lord, I say that I have not started so seriously to end up a laughingstock. Again, I beg Y.M. to help me so that I can carry out this mission that Y.M. started and to return to God what He gave me, before my life ends in pretence. Help me, Y.M., in these thousands of works of piety and mercy, and do not allow me to lose all these and other favours that God granted me in his great kindness, particularly what I deserve, having played a part in the conversion of those infinite souls, for with due respect I say that I do not want to lose them but advocate for them, in the same way I ask Y.M. for justice against those who do not do it and prevent me from giving the greatest service to God and Y.M. His Majesty Lord Manuel, King of Portugal, discovered Eastern India by land and the Coast of Africa by sea, reaching the Cape of Good Hope.

Then he armed ships, searched, begged and promised the favours that Vasco da Gama carried out to finish his discovery. My Lord, I do not have the same knowledge that Da Gama had, but I was fortunate to have had seventeen years of live experiencesin the mission I am dealing with, and I beg with the fruit of my soul’s power and hard physical work, and I am stopped. I do not say I am not loved, but it is possible that to win over the will of one man – if he exists – who experiencesthe satisfaction that I can give, should cost so much since I sell myself cheap, meaning no offence to reason or justice if I ask for what I am owed for my travails, and to sell myself for what I am worth for what is left, and if the mission falls into the hands of someone who ignores it and does not love it more than he loves himself, there can be no more damaging thing than the regret it will inevitably breed, and if I am not available, I do not know if Y.M. can find someone else even for millions in gold. When the Catholic Monarchs attempted to discover the Indies, there was war and so much poverty in Spain that it was necessary to borrow the money used to dispatch Columbus on a venture to find out if the lands he thought really existed.

It is to be noted that his determination paid off and indeed there were infinite treasures of both genders, with the added result of the current peace and the riches in Perú, and that with only a small part from them Y.M. can carry out this mission that was already started, in whose name and considering God’s stake in it, I beg Y.M. to let me know what will happen both to the mission and to me, so that I can truthfully say that I am as faithful to God as I am to Y.M. Considering Y.M.’s obligation to heaven and my obligation to Y.M., I did not do as much as I could have, looking for the monies to redeem everything for Y.M. and nothing for me on my way to the Philippines – in the same way as others did – in two trips (with the possibility of having done at least twelve). My Lord, in short I say that if I have given all I had and done all I could, I offer to sacrifice my life, and I cannot go any forward. Consider your obligations, My Lord, those souls, the enemies, my justice, and the fact that this mission has the potential to double God’s Church and Y.M.’s monarchy, securing the two. For all this, and considering what people will say in the present and future, Y.M. must decide by himself, and dispatch me under his own authority, measured by reason, as I have requested. Finally, I would like to point out that if I started this mission wrongly, I would like to do good, and that the smallest service I wish to give God, I believe that if all earth riches were mine, and if all those who owe me remembered what they owe me and ought to pay, and to find the persons that have the obligation and yet delay my attempt. The Tierrafirme fleet is leaving in December; what must be prepared, sailed and performed is too much; lives are short, and what has been lost and will be lost is countless and will never be recovered. This is the justice that I have been asking Y.M. for in the past fifty months