to Mr. Evarts.
Lisbon, April 11, 1879. (Received May 1.)
Sir: On the 18th of February, the United States frigate Constitution, last from Portsmouth, England, was reported off this port, and on the 19th, Captain Badger paid me a visit and announced that the rudder of his ship was disabled and required repairs; to effect which it would be necessary for her to be docked. As there is no private dry-dock in Lisbon large enough to receive such a vessel as the Constitution, I found it necessary to apply to His Majesty’s Government for permission for the Constitution to enter the royal dock for the necessary repairs. At the time it was occupied by two vessels of His Majesty’s navy; and Mr. Corvo, while expressing his great readiness to permit the repairs on the Constitution, informed me it would be forty days before the vessels then occupying the dock could be taken out to enable her to take the place of them. This was very discouraging, but hearing that it was just possible His Majesty’s vessels would be taken out of dock if I requested it in order to admit the Constitution, I renewed my application and with success. The Constitution was accordingly docked and repaired. Captain Badger expressed his warmest thanks for the service in a letter to me, a copy of which I transmitted to Mr. Corvo with a note of my own expressing my acknowledgments of the great kindness thus shown by His Majesty’s Government to the United States.
I inclose herewith for your information copies of all the correspondence which passed between me and Captain Badger and Mr. Corvo on this interesting subject; and I trust that I may soon be instructed by you to convey to Mr. Corvo the thanks of the Government of the United States [Page 902] for this remarkable act of courtesy of His most faithful Majesty’s Government in taking out of dock, in an unfinished state, two of His Majesty’s vessels of war in order that the injuries to the Constitution might be promptly repaired. The act is exceptional and seems to me deserves special recognition.
The Constitution sailed from this port for New York early this morning.
I have, &c.,