- Oct 2018
In the year 1799, Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts, commanding a large sealer and general trader
The sealing industry, particularly in the Southern hemisphere, was at its peak in 1799, when Benito Cereno is set. It was not uncommon for whaling ships to be repurposed as sealers, and the Bachelor's Delight seems to be no exception, as Delano refers to the ship's longboat as a whale boat--a rowed boat that would be used to get close to a whale and finish off the hunt.
"The first cargo of seal products from the Falklands was sent to France in 1766 by temporary settlers from St. Malo, inaugurating an industry that continued sporadically until 1972. Periodic hunting also took place in the Dependencies, terminating at South Georgia in 1964 with closure of the Grytviken whaling station. The rush to make windfall profits during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries resulted in the rapid decimation of stocks on the Falklands and later in the Dependencies. The industry was primarily prosecuted by sealing and whaling crews from New England, although British vessels were involved to a limited extent. These collective activities reached a peak at the Falklands in the late eighteenth century, with sealers thereafter moving to exploit other southern hemisphere stocks, including those on the then-Dependencies of South Georgia and the South Shetlands, and to a lesser extent at the South Orkney and South Sandwich Islands. These stocks were also destroyed by the 1830s. Some sealers did, however, continue to visit the Falklands, usually to start or top up cargoes from the Dependencies. But they found the earlier unhindered hunting controlled by the United Provinces de la Plata (later Argentina) and by the permanent British administration established in 1834" (Anthony .B. Dickinson, "Early Nineteenth-Century Sealing on the Falkland Islands: Attempts to Develop a Regulated Industry, 1820-1834. The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, Vol 4:3, 1994. 39-49.)