State Library of NSW
Sixth 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. According to Kelly this sixth Presentation memorial is: "Memorial (printed later in 1609 at Barcelona) enumerating 23 island-discoveries (including La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo) and referring to the interrogatory made at Mexico with the testimonies of ten witnesses. It states that many other lands still remain to be discovered in the region of La Austrialia, and that Tomai, cacique of Taumaco, knew more than 60 islands in the neighbourhood, one of which called Manicolo was very extensive; also that Pedro (died 8 April 1607 in Mexico), a native seized at Taumaco, gave information about the islands of Chicayana, Guaytopo, Pilen, Nupan, Fonofono, Macaraylay, Manicolo, Tucopia and Pouro, and that he had seen pearls and silver ore in some of them (the other native, Pablo, a boy of 8 years, died on 24 May 1607). Finally it gives a description of the ceremonies at the Bay".
Copy of some remarkable notices submitted to the Honourable Court and to His Royal Majesty King Philip, as well as in a memorial presented in the current year 1609, by Captain Pedro Fernández de Quirós. The aforementioned Captain notifies Your Majesty about the existence of many lands that he has discovered in the Indies, as well as of many others that are to be discovered. With Ordinary licence in Barcelona, at Gabriel Graells and Giraldo Dotil printing press, Year 1609.
My Lord I have reported to Your Majesty that one‐fourth of the globe lies hidden in the Southern Hemisphere, and that I have discovered twenty‐three islands whose names are La Encarnación, San Juan Bautista, Santelmo, las Cuatro Coronadas, S. Miguel, la Conversión de S. Paulo, la Dezena, la Sagitaria, la Fugitiva, la del Peregrino, Nuestra Señora del Socorro, Monterrey, Tucopia, San Marcos, el Vergel, las Lágrimas de S. Pedro, los Portales de Belén, el Pilar de Zaragoza, S. Raimundo, and Isla de la Virgen María. And jointly the three portions of land called Australia of the Holy Spirit, where the Bay of San Felipe, Santiago and the Port of Vera Cruz were discovered, was where we spent thirty‐six days with our ships. These three portions are believed to be one big land mass, and the greatness of their high and twisted mountain ridges and that River Iordan seem to guarantee that, as well as evidence of the rest as per my report made in Mexico with ten witnessesthat came with me and that I refer to. Your Majesty may request to see it at any time, as well as create a committee of mathematicians, pilots and religious authorities, since there are many of them at your Court now; the cause is worthy and Your Majesty greatly cares for it. Therefore I say, My Lord, that on the island called Taumaco – which appears to lie at a distance of one thousand, two hundred and fifty leaguesfrom Mexico – we were anchored for ten days. The Ruler of that island and other islands, whose name is Tumay – a reasonable man who has a fit body and size, a dark complexion, beautiful eyes, a sharp nose, grown curly hair and beard – in his grave manner helped us to obtain a water supply and timber that we were in dire need of at the time, together with his people. He came to my ship to see me, and once on board I examined him as follows. The first thing I showed him was his island, the sea, our ships and people, and I pointed in all directions towards the Horizon. I made other gestures, and with those I asked him whether he had seen other ships and men like ours, to which he replied he had not. I asked him whether he knew about other faraway or nearby lands, populated or not, and once he understood me, he mentioned more than sixty islands, as well as a large extension of land called Manicolo.
I, My Lord, made a note of all of them looking at the compass to learn where each one of them is – which one is towards the South, Southeast, West and Northeast of your island. In order to help me understand which were the small ones, he drew small circles and pointed to the sea with his finger, leading me to understand that the land was close. For the larger ones, he drew larger circles with the same gestures, and to refer to that great land he opened both arms without closing them again, in an attempt to show its extension. In order to explain which were farthest or closest, he would point to the sun from east to west, he would lean his head on one of his hands, close his eyes, and using his fingers he would count the nights. Based on their resemblance, he said which peoples were white, black, Indians and mulattos, as well as which ones were mixed, and who were his friends and enemies. He explained that on some islands the natives ate human flesh by pretending he was biting his arm, making it clear that he did not love these people well; in this way and in others he made himself understood, and I repeated (my questions) so many times that he seemed tired of them. He expressed his wish to return to his home (…) and said goodbye to me with a kiss on my cheek and with other manifestations of love. On this island, the quay is a three‐league beach, most of it consisting of small black heavy stones – excellent to be used as ballast for the ships. Apart from being very open, this port has another advantage: since daybreak, there are thousands of different birds, some of them apparently nightingales, blackbirds, calandra larks and infinite swallows, small parrots, and many more kinds of bird, until the cicadas and crickets start chirping. Each morning we would enjoy the soft perfumes emanating from so many different kinds of flower such as orange blossom and basil – because of this, the sky was deemed without inclemency and nature was deemed to be in order.
When I left the island of Taumaco, I took four very fine Indians. Two escaped swimming and the other two stayed on board. On the way back, in the port of Acapulco and in Mexico City – where he passed away after the Marquis of Montesclaros saw him – he made the following report without changes, even though he was asked on different occasions by several people and in different ways, and his words were denied and contradicted. The first thing that Pedro said was that he was a native from an island called Chicayna which is larger than Taumaco – where we found him – and that both of them are four days away from each other. Chicayna is flat, and we understood there is abundant water, and that its people are of a good Indian complexion, long loose hair, and that they slightly paint their faces, shoulders and chests – as he did. He told us there are white men with long fair hair as well, and that he was a weaver and an archer. In his own language, his name was Luca, his wife was called Layna, and his son’s name was Ley. He also mentioned that in his island there are many oysters, such as the ones whose shell I saw, and I brought some that I have here with me, of three different sizes. The first one is common in Margarita, the second one is twice as large, and the third one was approximately a few inches wide. They call all these oysters Totofe, and pearls can be found in them, which they call Futiquilquil. For this reason I showed him the shells, he took them in his hands, and holding them he showed us where they grow. When asked how many there were and of what size, he said that in some of them there are more and in others there are less. In order to explain the size, he would say that some of them are like sand and salt, like pebbles and rosary beads, like the button that he had on his jerkin. There were some larger ones as well, which can be caught from the stony seabed, and he himself would pick them by hand and put them in his canoe.
They only want them for their meat, called Canofe, and the shells can be used to make hooks, spoons and other things, but pearls are not used for any purpose. Pedro mentioned other details about what can be found in his island, such as much larger pearls than those already mentioned, silvery stones, and infinite other things that I brought to this Court for whoever cares to see. Pedro said that they call the Devil Tetua, and that he speaks to the Indians without being seen and sometimes would touch their faces and chests during the night. When they attempted to find out what it was, they found nothing. He mentioned that with some shyness and fear, leaving no doubt that he was talking about something evil and abhorrent to them. He told others – but not to me – that before we went to his land, the Devil had warned them that we were going to kill them. He appeared very eager to go back to his land, in order to inform the Lord of Taumaco of all the good we had done to him, and that his Indian companions had abandoned our ships freely, that we had not done them any wrong, what a good thing it is to be a Christian and that once he became one, the Devil did not speak to him, nor did he hear him or felt his touch. He wanted to bring his son and wife to live with us. Pedro seemed to be twenty‐five years of age, and when he spoke to us, he did not know much about the Castilian language, and that was why his statement was hard work, because he was denied and repeated several times. It seems that if he had lived, he would have given more reasons than he had, and what he did not say was not because he was cunning. Consequently, I as well as those who spoke to him regarded him as a truthful man with a sense of shame.
One day he entered the Church of S. Francisco in Mexico, and as he saw so many crucifixes in it he asked why there were so many gods when he was told there was only one God. The question was answered by showing him all the portraits of the real Christ, and with this as well as with the rest of what was answered, he appeared satisfied. The friars who were listening to him felt happy, for his question was that of a man who can think. Finally, on Palm Sunday he passed away. I trust God’s mercy, which in such a strange manner brought him to baptism and to passing away after confession and anointment, on such an outstanding day after having proved himself as a good Christian (…) The other Indian was called Paulo. He was a boy of no more than eight years of age, dark brown complexion and frizzy hair. He had beautiful eyes and was of a good build and better disposition, to such an extent that all of those who treated him loved him very much for being so docile and pleasant. Like Pedro, he had learned the four prayers and crossed himself with great joy. Like the good Christian he was, God took him on Ascension Day. He spoke about the Devil called Hadanua, and said that he spoke to the Indians without being seen. He talked about smaller and larger dogs and about a catlike animal, and mentioned a great river close to his people. He said that in his land there are many warlike people who fight each other, and that human flesh is not eaten, a fact that can be explained by the amount of pork, poultry and other food that they have, for among these peoples it appears that eating human flesh is a consequence of their barren lands or the brutality of their inhabitants.
Being only a child who was sick, it was not possible to learn as much as we would have liked. I have gathered a small vocabulary from Pedro and Paulo’s tongues, and what I have learned is easy to pronounce. These (and some others), My Lord, are the greatnesses and goodnesses of the lands I discovered, of which I took possession in Your Majesty’s name under our Royal Standard, as it is recorded in the edicts in my possession. My Lord, once there, we erected a Cross and we built the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, we celebrated twenty masses, we won the jubilee conceded on Whitsunday and we made a solemn procession on Corpus Christi day, that is, the Holy Sacrament guided by Your Majesty’s Standard. Those mysteriouslands were honoured and I hoisted three field flags. On the higher ones I showed the two columns side by side your Royal Weapons, and with this I can say that this is the end of Plus Ultra and in whatever is a continent in front and behind. All of this and the rest is because I am Your loyal vassal and so that Your Majesty can later add to your title “Australia of the Holy Spirit”, for the glory of the same Lord who led me there and showed it to me, and then brought me to Your Majesty’s presence, where I am with the same will I devoted to the cause, and for your highness whom I love infinitely. If Christopher Columbus’s suspicions made him stubborn, what I saw, touched and offered make me so annoying. All my means are at Your Majesty’s disposal so that you may continue with what I have proposed, to your entire satisfaction. Captain Pedro Fernández de Quirós, Your Majesty’s vassal.