The Desk

From The Sidney Record 8 Mar 1884:  Washington News 1855.

In 1855 the British Government sent their steamer “Resolute” to rescue the survivors of the Sir John Franklin expedition, but it became necessary for her officers and crew to abandon her in the ice.  She floated 1000 miles and was found with all of her supplies intact by a United States whaler.

The Queen at once relinquished all claim to the vessel and she became the property of her salvors.  Our Congress then appropriated money, purchased the vessels from the salvors, repaired it at our navy yards and sent it the British Government manned by a crew of American sailors.   The action of our government was highly appreciated, and the praises of the United States was sounded throughout all of England.

Upon the arrival of the Resolute a public reception was held on board, which was attended by the Queen.  Subsequently a handsome desk was made from her oak timber and was presented to the President of the United States by Queen Victoria.  The desk is still used by our President in his private office in the White House.

Now comes the British Government and presents us with their Arctic steamer Alert for our Greely relief expedition, as a graceful acknowledgement for our former generosity.  Representatives Finnerty and Robinson objected to its acceptance as they object to all friendly demonstrations between the United States and Great Britain, but Congress with their exception, voted unanimous thanks.



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