Ben Shattuck visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library to figure out the risk of being swallowed or bit by a whale:

Michael left me with the file cabinet. Each drawer was labeled alphabetically. In front of me was the B’s to D’s: Bone (scraping) – Deaths.  Within each drawer was a line of labeled dividers. In the Bone (scraping) – Deaths were the subject Buggery and Thievery, Bounty, and Burials. I thumbed through the cards. The Bounty section included cards reading fiddle and one dollar for seeing a whale, gold watch for most whales sighted in 18 months voyage, cook cooked doughnuts for all, in the trypots, Raisins given by captain, and one very familiar one that Melville might have come across: Captain nailed one dollar to the mizzen mast for the man that raises the first whale that we get.
 



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