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State Library of NSW
Third 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. Circulation of all memorials was restricted to the King, ministers and Councils of State, of War and the Indies. When it was learnt in 1610 he was distributing them beyond the court the King ordered all memorials to be recalled. The Eighth Memorial 'escaped' the Spanish borders and was translated into various languages. These so-called "presentation memorials" - to be distinguished from later derivative printings which appeared throughout Europe - are among the most valuable of all printed Australiana. This third presentation memorial provides five reasons rebutting objections against settling in the Austral Lands. They being defence needs of the Spanish empire, financial resources, money already spent, focus of conversions on South America and the lack of Spanish migrants. A very rare foundation document of Australia.
My Lord, After I discovered the unknown Southern territories, mainly since I wanted them to be populated, being one thing and the other very convenient and necessary, an obligation in the service of God and Y.M., and for the good of the natives’ souls, I, Captain Pedro Fernández de Quirós, always heard certain reasons against them, especially the following five, which are of such nature that it seems that Satan looked for them so surreptitiously for his purposes that a war was declared against them on a continuous basis. The first one, Sir, is that Y.M.’s monarchy is very extended and it is not possible that being its dependence upon this Court so necessary, it could be easy to rule, therefore it would be more appropriate to increase the possessions in the Indies to preserve whatever is left – and that would not happen if new lands were discovered, putting all of them in danger. On this I can only say, Sir, that if the small extension of our Spain is measured, what will be found is that if we consider its totality, it will amount to the same as comparing a little fingernail to a whole human body, and for this reason it is worth considering how such a small portion of land with so very few natives worked so many and such great wonders in so many far away lands. It should be pointed out that now when the government – lifeblood of all possessions – is questioned, it appears that Our Lord desires to show how much can be done with so little, and that by force He wants Y.M. to rule and sustain more than two-thirds of the world, because He is showing the new and I am pleading for that great territory of yours that was concealed, hence the increased obligation to accept that so much was lost through delay, but that so much can be gained through promptness. I beg Y.M. to make use of what God gives you through my industriousness and faithfulness, remembering the many benefits. Even earthly Princes may feel angered if the rewards they grant are not considered, and if the favours they do – however small – are not willingly received.
For all these reasons, as well as for those I do not say, I effectively implore Y.M. to forgive my insolence and receive my good will if I bring to your attention that it would be unimaginable to let go of the smallest part of the lands conquered in the Indies, for the mere utterance of such a thought is frightening and offensive, considering that all Y.M.’s vassals must give their assets and lives to defend and preserve such a gift from God, who could have given it to others; and at the same time that the lands I discovered are estimated as much as their excellencies deserve, who are as deserving as my suffering and insistence on not deserting those lands that deserve the strength of my pursuits and persuasions, born from the certainty that it is of the highest importance to populate them before others do. Were that to happen, it must be said that the damages and the losses would be incalculable and would have no remedy, as I have expressed before, as well as the great love I offer myself in their service for free, warning and reminding that if Columbus’s proposals and others of a similar nature had not been admitted or executed and that everything that was done were still to be done, including the service to God, and Y.M. were not king in so many parts of the world, and now without adding the one mentioned before which has so much promise both for heaven and earth, and without giving men of letters a reason to sing to such greatnesses that illustrate Spain so much and make it so enviable. I also remind you that millions of inconveniences and difficulties that I experienced so often did not wear me down, even though I was always so lonely and contradicted, devoid of means and short of money, and if only one of them defeated me, I did not defeat so many, nor did I say what was done, which I estimate even more than if I owned the two richest provinces in Asia, China and Persia. In short, Sir, I went ahead, trusting God, and for this very reason I even conquered bad will. If Y.M. dares to attempt such a great feat, for all that Y.M. is worth, all your kingdoms and possessions are very few, and for my spirit what is not known about the world is not too much in order to discover and to disentangle it and to give it to Y.M. so that he can give it to God, who is the owner of everything, and for God it would be very possible from a smaller place than Spain and further away to govern a million worlds, had He created them as He would have been able to, than to leave those lands deserted, for it sounds like mistrust, which is what should be feared the most, and it must be believed that Y.M.’s monarchy will not end by rendering such an extreme and unique service to God, but it is to be expected that it will be doubled this time and redoubled later, and everything will last together till the end of the world, but God can do much more. Sir, the second reason is that it is said that Y.M. is very poor, and that is why it is not possible to go to the expense required by the population in those great, good and rich territories that I discovered, therefore they should stay as they were in their darkness – it would be a great pity if that were the case, God forbid that would happen because of my sins.
My response to this is that God Our Lord made Y.M. the richest King and Lord in the world. I can prove it because in the Provinces of America, Y.M. has more than two thousand leagues of mines that fill so many fleets, navies and galleons with gold, silver, pearls, emeralds and other valuables, and so many large ships come from the East laden with the most precious goods that nature has created there, as well as with others of great value. Africa, Brazil and the islands in the ocean give all the wealth in them. I do not include what the Kingdoms of Spain, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and the provinces of Lombardy and Flanders yield, as well as others where Y.M. is the lord. I plead with whom it may concern to consider that such a rich and powerful King and Lord such as Y.M. to ensure that with all the surpluses from riches such as those that God bestowed upon Perú only to spend a minimum amount of money to justify your cause, for based on what I saw I promise returns of one hundred by one, two hundred and double based on the news and on what I presume. My intention is not to persuade or obligate Y.M. with this, but only by remembering the King Our Lord in heaven when it was suggested you should let go of the Philippines because their stateliness produces more expense than benefit. You replied that if there was a shortfall in Mexico, the most fortunate in Spain would cover it so that the conversion of those peoples would not stop or be lost. Besides, with the most active charity at the expense of so much wealth, you endeavoured to impose the preaching of the Gospel and the teaching of the copious number of peoples discovered. Those whom I request teaching for, and many more that live in the unknown part, also fall within the protection of Y.M., and Y.M. sent me to discover them and they have been discovered, and without either ministers of God or the knowledge of who their Divine Majesty is, given that the remedy is so far away, it may be too late if this occasion is missed with the obligation that Y.M. has of not deserting them, because if God lead us there, it is not without a cause, and there could be no powerful cause that forces Y.M. to let go of them, and it is for a reason that my will is so strong after having been so ill-treated. In short, Sir, God’s providence is limitless and it has never deserted those who trust His Divine Majesty rather than human means. Considering who you are, Y.M., and whatever is convenient for Your Royal Greatness, mainly at the hour of God’s glory, you will aid those infinite peoples as you can and must, because of who you are and for your possessions.
I believe that the briefest, the longest and the clearest this favour is, which I request only once, the greatest, fastest and surest the benefits that can be expected from it, both in those places as much as here. When Y.M. becomes as poor as it is rumoured, I say that in the manner I described before, Y.M. will become very rich and that the sun will never set in Y.M.’s lands, and it is not fair that strength is lacking only to acquire kingdoms and to help my wishes. It is said that the Indies did not cost a single royal peso: I say that this is the greatest damage that they have suffered, suffer and will continue to suffer, the reason why the first ones set their hearts on financial benefits without scruples; gold and silver are earth and they are mortal men who would have done the right thing if they had had any knowledge and if they had settled their three due accounts: with God, with themselves and with their fellow men. In that way, there was an excuse for the violent and disarrayed principle that brought them to the Indies and that brought the Indians to their current pitiful state. As an example, I tightly note that to populate those great and important territories, this time no resources should be spared, nor should Y.M. trust other people’s expenditure, so that the fate of these Southern Indies will not be like that of the Western ones. The third reason is, Sir, the feeling stirred by the fact that Y.M. spent one hundred and eighty-four thousand ducats to dispatch me. My answer is that even though this small sum that Y.M. ordered to spend on such a general and illustrious mission may seem excessive, what was spent must seem meagre, for the extra two-thirds that I was allowed to spend without going beyond Y.M.’s orders, as can be seen in them. The money spent was supposed to arrive from Spain in the galleons that were lost with Luys Fernandez de Cordova. It must be pointed out that it should not be called expenditure but a loan granted to vassals, so that they would be of service in the same way as they were of service to Y.M. I say loan because when soldiers and sailors receive their pay, they take those monies to merchants, and merchants to customs, and after two round trips, they find their way back to the coffers. It remains to be established how many royal resources were squandered in the Indies – a loss to regret – but not in those days because they acquired the vast territories I discovered.
How many thousands of men and millions in gold were lost at sea, and how many millions and men were spent on attempts or on conquering small posts? How much silver and gold is spent on so many things that are not of the same value as this one? How many riches find their way out of these kingdoms and never return to them? How much is the most I can fairly say, for I can only see weeping for such a small sum that was better spent than others; if it came to Spain, it would also be spent, and the one I am asking for is about to come from the Indies. In short, I say that in order to reap, one must sow and benefit, and in order to gain, one must spend and risk. Y.M., I beg you to risk very little to gain millions in honourable, profitable and glorious things. After dealing with this mission, it would not be excessive if I attempted to acquire and own [riches] in the same manner that others have profited from the Philippines race, the benefits of which I have seen, tried and given up this time. For this reason I am so aware that he who lacks money has faults in excess and more, that I persuade Y. Majesty to spend on his work. The fourth, which is where the devil makes his mark because the main profit pursued is, Sir, the conversion of these peoples. Many were discovered in Perú, New Spain and other places, with more living obligations to be led to the heavens than those others that have been recently discovered or are yet to be discovered. I say, Sir, to all those persons that have said what I referred to before, who know where those lost souls are, and whose sense of charity is such that pain oozes from their perdition, that they should take their remedy on your account, acting as their Guardian Angel, that I assure you it will not weigh heavily upon my shoulders, nor will I stop helping them, nor will it look wrong to the rest of the world and many more will leave mine, so much farther away than I saw there and are there, and they are all in danger and experiencing the same harm until they receive the news of Christ’s law, upon which their greater good starts. Since I, with twice as much joy, always accept the search of all of them, no matter how far away and isolated at sea they are. In this way and persistent others, each one of us will show the piety we preach as much as possible, and we will make the Almighty the known, believed in, adored and served Lord of the peoples, and He so commands and wishes – and it should be done. I fervently beg that it will hurt to learn that they will be lost and that their price is minimal, and it should be remembered that it is the work of Charity not to be content with very little, and that so long as there is matter, it will always want to act, for I confess that with all the opposition I find, together with my own faults, that if I gave up on defending my cause or did not follow it, or if I delayed it for a day, I should understand that the morning after I can expect a very bitter retribution, both physical and spiritual.
The Preachers who are to convert those peoples will not become (as I have heard) lambs thrown to the wolves to be killed, but with mature counsel and great trust in God they will be shepherds with greyhounds and faithful mastiffs to guide and defend so many tame sheep from the infernal wolves that their souls carry, keeping a watchful eye so that what I have seen does not happen there: dead sheep, its keepers left with nobody to care for, and shepherds without a trace of sorrow for this. The fifth reason is, Sir, what many say: if God had never wanted the Indies to be discovered, because only for the love of them Spain is losing inhabitants, and has become poor and expensive, and that in bygone days one of her Greatest would be pleased to wear honest cloth and that now he wears silks and brocades, and costly jewellery, serves with gold and silver, and that with the money that is brought from them [the Indies] they rise and many of them who were not men before become such, and they cry their misfortunes when they could easily return to rough sackcloth. My reply to this is that it was not without a cause that many foreigners say that all the Spanish Indies hurt their eyes, which can be seen in their works. There are some who say that they should be used properly [the Indies] and treated as they deserve, for it is no reason to feel bad to have discovered such a great multitude of peoples and riches, and to have found goods of both genders in such remote and well understood Provinces, whose worst ill has been that Y.M. has not lived in any of their two centres to put them both in the reason they do not have, whose past and present ruin, as well as what lies ahead for their natives is what should have been cried for. The rest can be avoided and such a great part of the world can be secured now in order not to miss out. If not, in two years – and one has already gone – without any monies, and later on it will be decided whether Spain can live without the Indies, or the Indies without Spain, or if all the silver and gold ingots that for so many years they have paid were counted, it would be discovered that all Y. Majesty’s palaces could all be made of silver and gold, and the patios and plazas could be paved in those metals and filled as well. The territories in question do not promise less, nor can I see others that could redeem Spain, for all the rest are about to be laid bare.
Our Lord created more lands and peoples than those in Spain, and if those that I saw there and that I wish would receive the benefits of the Catholic Church that Y. Majesty defends, God having given so many men, monies, comforts and whatever is necessary to render such service, promising great returns in spiritual and temporal gifts, and having me as a vassal who pleads so much, there is no desire to rescue them for any of the suggested reasons or for others (whatever they may be), I say that God has created all those souls that cost the redemption of Christ’s blood, passion and death – Christ Our Lord, Man and God, who knows and can do what He wants – it may be that for not losing one of them, He will look for a shepherd to entrust all of them with, to feel for them and to do whatever it takes, and not only to spend monies to look for them but also to protect them from the wolves, as the Gospels say. My Lord, I finally say that there are merchants who content themselves only by earning a ten or twenty percent only from their work, and once they recoup their investment they are glorified, and many who consider themselves well served even if they lose all they have. There are also others who even if they see an increase in their gains flee from them, and several others who, fearing their whims, do not dare to employ their coins, and some others who spend them all when in doubt. There are also hungry merchants who never tire of earning thousands and millions. Likewise, in the worst of cases there are contractors who are happy to cause small damage, whereas others would employ all their strength and that of others that cannot be numbered, as it happens in this case, and I am not horrified by what I said, but by what has not been done, as I have experienced, and even more so, because from long ago in this miserable world there have been those who knew much and erred much, and had infinite regrets while others reaped the benefits of what they did not want to do. It is not for this that I give up hope, Sir, but it actually increases when I read, hear, see and consider that the great good deeds have always had powerful enemies who were proud of it, and I feel reassured that the holier, more courageous and greater they are, the bigger the web that the Devil creates, and the more resources he creates to finish them, or at least to sever the largest possible part.
I am also certain that the higher this mission is in the service of God, the lowest miseries I have encountered and I always encounter wherever I go – or to express it better, the terrible and outrageous storms that both of us have weathered and that God has delivered us from. I expect that your great power will secure what is missing, though most of the ports have been seized by the devil. The less of my strength has been employed to win so many battles, the greater the proof that God loves this mission. May Y.M. believe in me who only wants the greater good, and that if I had wanted money from this mission, or from anything else, I would not have spent what I had, or let go of such good chances as those I let go of, so as not to owe you a single hour and not to risk the smallest of your possessions, without growing tired of persuading and pleading, or asking my due great prize, or taking charge of the expedition as was pointed out, or profited from the goods, which I do not seek, because I am aware of how false they are, and even more so, without doing much if I had made attempts and had continued this great mission with plenty of gold ingots, or with great favours from men, or if I had been so well received and helped by them, or if I had had high hopes that not only did I forget the past and present hardships, but also dared to fight against those awaiting me, nor if it were now a great fact that, on the beaches of the lands I discovered, God had given me millions in gold, silver, pearls, and in their benefit I did not spend a single resource. It is resources that I am asking for – that Y.M. spend only once, on account of all the benefits that God will provide in those territories, as well as of the many that he has given before and continues to give in Perú, to render such a great service. It is all too little for what such a mission deserves. If I could (whatever it takes, including my life), Sir, I would be privileged to do it on my own. I ask Y.M. to be dispatched, and I remind you that the fleet will soon set sail.