by Dean C. Allard
3. - The Albatross dredging.
laboratory spaces and scientific equipment, including “powerful
hoisting engines” capable of working in waters as deep as
4,000 fathoms (Fig. 7). The Fish Commissioner specifically associated
the Albatross with the exploration of the Gulf Stream
Slope. As her later history revealed, however, the Albatross
was equally capable of extended operations in any oceanic environment(3).
4. - The Fish Hawk
In his December 1880 letter to Verrill, the Fish Commissioner
expressed pessimism that Congress would approve his proposal.
Yet, despite his initial doubts, Baird mounted a skillful lobbying
campaign that resulted in an 1881 Congressional appropriation
for $103,000. By October 1881, Baird received the vessel’s
final plans from Charles W. Copeland, the New York City marine
architect who had previously designed the Fish Commission’s
Fish Hawk. Bids then were requested from American shipbuilders.
To Baird’s profound disappointment, however, the lowest
proposal received was for $129,500 (USFC, 1884:xxiv; Baird(4)).
5. - George Brown Goode, an assistant
Figure 6. - Addision E. Verrill, a professor
at Yale University
Rejecting the option of using available funds to build a smaller
vessel, the Fish Commissioner returned to Congress with a request
for a supplemental appropriation. Pulling out all the stops, Baird
listed six major contributions that Albatross could make
to the nation:
1) Exploration and study of known fishing areas.
2) Location of new fishing grounds in the Atlantic, the Gulf of
Mexico, and off the Pacific coast.