Memorial: Cinquenta meses ha que estoy. [Incipit:] Señor. El Capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quirós. Cincuenta meses ha que estoy en esta Corte, suplicando a V[uestra] M[agestad] se sirva mandar, me vaya a poblar las tierras que V[uestra] M[agestad] me mandò descubrir… // … [Explicit:] Esta es mi justicia, esta pido a V[uestra] M[agestad] cincuenta meses ha. Pedro Fernández de QUIROS.
Memorial: Cinquenta meses ha que estoy. [Incipit:] Señor. El Capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quirós. Cincuenta meses ha que estoy en esta Corte, suplicando a V[uestra] M[agestad] se sirva mandar, me vaya a poblar las tierras que V[uestra] M[agestad] me mandò descubrir… // … [Explicit:] Esta es mi justicia, esta pido a V[uestra] M[agestad] cincuenta meses ha.
Memorial: Cinquenta meses ha que estoy. [Incipit:] Señor. El Capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quirós. Cincuenta meses ha que estoy en esta Corte, suplicando a V[uestra] M[agestad] se sirva mandar, me vaya a poblar las tierras que V[uestra] M[agestad] me mandò descubrir… // … [Explicit:] Esta es mi justicia, esta pido a V[uestra] M[agestad] cincuenta meses ha.

Memorial: Cinquenta meses ha que estoy…
Memorial: Cinquenta meses ha que estoy. [Incipit:] Señor. El Capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quirós. Cincuenta meses ha que estoy en esta Corte, suplicando a V[uestra] M[agestad] se sirva mandar, me vaya a poblar las tierras que V[uestra] M[agestad] me mandò descubrir… // … [Explicit:] Esta es mi justicia, esta pido a V[uestra] M[agestad] cincuenta meses ha.

Madrid: 7 December 1611.

Folio, 303 x 220 mm., four leaves, foliated [1]-3 (six pages of printed text, and a final leaf blank); woodcut initial "E" on the first leaf with manuscript annotations; housed in a custom made solander box.

1611: an exceptionally rare original Quirós Presentation Memorial

One of the greatest voyage rarities: an original Quirós presentation memorial. As Carlos Sanz has written, "Apart from Columbus' Letter announcing his arrival in the Indies (America) [there is] no printed document that has counted for so much in the history of discovery and navigation…

One of the greatest voyage rarities: an original Quirós presentation memorial. As Carlos Sanz has written, "Apart from Columbus' Letter announcing his arrival in the Indies (America) [there is] no printed document that has counted for so much in the history of discovery and navigation…

"The era of the great geographical discoveries, opened with Columbus' first transatlantic voyage, closed with those announced in the Quirós Memorial. Two great oceans (the Atlantic and the Pacific), an immense continent (America), the Philippine Islands and finally Australia are the achievements to be put to the account of this great maritime adventure, the greatest known to the centuries…".

The Quirós Presentation Memorials represent the earliest printed record of discovery and plans for settlement of a Southern Continent, the discoveries that Quirós named "Austrialia del Espíritu Santo". He prepared a series of proposals, presenting them to King Philip III of Spain and his councils as Memorials between 1607 and 1614. Some of the memorials were only prepared in manuscript; just 14 were printed for presentation, at Quirós' own expense. These fourteen Presentation Memorials form a progression of statements describing the discoveries made by Quirós and Mendaña of a Southern Continent, and petition the King to support an expedition of further discovery and colonisation there, to settle the lands for Spain and Christianity.

Each Memorial further argues Quirós' case: they do not, as is often misunderstood, simply repeat the same argument. This misconception may have been caused by the fact that the text of just one of the Memorials is seen almost exclusively in all the very many subsequent publications and dissemination, that of the so-called "Eighth Memorial", the single Memorial whose text leaked outside Spanish court circles in 1612 and was widely disseminated. Its influence was immense: as Alexander Dalrymple observed of Quirós in 1770, 'The discovery of the Southern Continent, whenever, and by whomsoever it may be completely effected, is in justice due to this immortal name'.

This is the eleventh in the series of 14 such Presentation Memorials now identified. In it Quirós stresses that he has now spent fifty months petitioning at court. He summarises the arguments for colonising the southern land and asks for a speedy decision as the annual fleet will sail shortly. Four other copies are known: the two located by Kelly (Archive of the Indies and Dixson Library Sydney), and two copies known to be privately owned.

The rarity of these Memorials may be easily explained by the protective attitude of the administration: geographical knowledge was power, and the circulation of such documents was highly restricted, probably extending only to the king and members of his court, and to the Council of the Indies. It was no doubt a member of that Council who inscribed this copy with a four-line note in ink on the blank final leaf: "Memorial del capitan Quirós dado al Consejo (??) de estacaman (??) dado feste [final four words indecipherable]".

See our separate catalogue of this extraordinary document {LINK}

The pre-eminent collection of Quirós Presentation Memorials is in the Mitchell and Dixson Libraries within the State Library of New South Wales where examples of all 14 known Memorials are held. When David Scott Mitchell acquired, a century ago, the entire collection of Alfred Lee (over 10,000 books, paintings, pamphlets, prints and drawings) he did so despite a duplication rate estimated at over 90%, acknowledging that the purchase was made solely in order to acquire Banks' Endeavour Journal and two Quirós Presentation Memorials. His fellow collector Sir William Dixson shared the same passion, acquiring over his lifetime eight of the Presentation Memorials, paying – according to Dunn – between £650 and £1000 for each of them: these were among the highest prices for any voyage material in the inter- and immediately post-war period, and demonstrate the extent to which the Memorials have always been valued. The other potent indicator of rarity is that the National Library of Australia holds just a single Quirós Presentation Memorial, and that acquired in recent times. Although they have only been collecting as a separate institution since 1960, the national collection does include much of the original Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, as well as Ferguson's famous collection of Australiana.

::

Dunn, Quirós Memorials, p. 45 (Q61/6); Kelly, Calendar of documents, 709 (47 in list); Medina (BHA), 6456; Palau, 89603; Pinochet de la Barra, Pedro Fernández de Quirós: Memoriales de las Indias Australes,, Memorial 47.

Condition Report: Near fine original condition.

Price (AUD): $275,000.00

US$189,179.75   Other currencies

Ref: #4004765

Condition Report