Mr. Arminjon to Mr. Williams
M. le Ministre: I have the honor to inform you of my arrival in Peking as plenipotentiary from his Majesty the King of Italy to his Majesty the Emperor of China. My mission has for its object to negotiate and sign a solemn treaty of friendship commerce and navigation.
The government of his Majesty my august sovereign has decided that it can delay no longer to aid in the success of the cause of civilization that most of the nations of European origin are desirous should prevail in eastern Asia, and it wishes to bring to this work all its own influence so far as the means now at its disposal permit. It justly thinks that to accomplish this end the concurrence (intente) of Christian powers should be unreserved in this place in order to bring it about as soon as possible.
Italy has arrived in China at the last hour. But then it will be unjust if she cannot obtain all the advantages possessed by other powers, which have made sacrifices to establish themselves in this part of Asia, and if the same consideration is not accorded to her in everything. In Europe Italy has been the cradle of science and arts, and the home of their revival; its claims to the recognition of humanity are as noble as they are ancient.
It is with these views, sir, that I have come to claim the efficacious support of the diplomatic corps now residing in Peking. The commercial interests of Italians are not yet extensive in Chinese ports; but it is not alone the spirit of speculation and trade which has given rise to the expedition of which I am the head. The government of King Victor Emanuel cannot doubt that Italy will, without difficulty, obtain the material privileges which the subjects of all other nations really enjoy; but it will not put its hand to a convention by which the country shall be placed in a position of relative inferiority.
I have the honor to present to you, sir, the sentiments of my high consideration.
His Excellency Dr. Williams, Minister of the United States, Peking.