Mr. Williams to Mr. Fish.
Peking , August 26, 1873. (Received October 23.)
Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 132, addressed to Mr. Low, and inclosing an address in English from the Chinese living at Quito, purporting to be written by one John Williams, to Mr. Wing, asking for the protection of the United States against those who ill-treat them, and giving directions to bring their complaint before the proper authorities, with a view to some remedial action, I now beg to reply that it would be very difficult to do so from these papers with any prospect of good to the Chinese in Ecuador. The original Chinese text should have been sent from Quito, as was done in the case of the petition from Peru, in 1869, and then its presentation to the high authorities here, with such explanations as were necessary to its full understanding, would have left them free to act. As it is, I have no evidence to bring that the Chinese there need relief, nor have the officials any clear notion of what they ought or are expected to do in the premises. While they have a general idea that their countrymen are much misused in all South American countries, and that it is incumbent on them to do something for their protection, they still feel their impotence to do aught effectual, and at present are content to do nothing; nor do I see what direct steps they could take with any prospect of relieving the wrongs complained of by their subjects living abroad in that part of the world.
However, the appeal of these poor Chinese for help can be made in a measure beneficial if their petition be sent here in its original form, or one be drawn up designed for presentation to their own rulers, which will state in detail the causes of complaint. I should look for some good then to result, and the authorities be led to see better their own responsibilities, which in all such cases they have always been very willing to shift on others.
With these explanations, I shall await your farther directions in this affair.
I have, &c.,