To the Senate and House of Representatives 
and House of Representatives:
I transmit to Congress a copy of a note of the 4th instant addressed by J. Hume Burnley. Esquire, Her Britannic Majestys Chargé d' Affaires to the Secretary of State, relative to a sword which it is proposed to present to Captain Henry S. Stellwagen, Commanding the United States frigate Constellation, as a mark of gratitude for his services to the British brigantine Mersey. The expediency of sanctioning the acceptance of the gift, is submitted to your consideration. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Washington, 8th. February, 1865.
 DS, DNA RG 46, Senate 38A F2; DS, DNA RG 233, House Executive Document No.55. A joint resolution approved on March 3, 1865, authorized Captain Stellwagen to accept the sword. Burnley's letter of February 4 is in part as follows:
``Her Majesty's consul at St. Thomas has reported to his government the friendly and efficient assistance given by Captain Stellwagen . . . to the British brigantine Mersey, of Liverpool, which he fell in with in a disabled condition, and in a state of imminent peril from the effects of a severe hurricane. . . . Captain Stellwagen went on board the Mersey and most liberally supplied the wants of the ship and crew, thus enabling her master to bring her in safety to . . . St. Thomas.
``Her Majesty's government . . . have caused the accompanying sword of honor to be prepared . . . as a mark of their gratitude, and I am instructed . . . to deliver it to you, with a request that Captain Stellwagen may be permitted to accept it. . . .'' (Ibid.).