The Commissioners of the Alms-House, vs. Alexander Whistelo, a Black Man; Being a Remarkable Case of Bastardy. Black Americana, New York.
The Commissioners of the Alms-House, vs. Alexander Whistelo, a Black Man; Being a Remarkable Case of Bastardy...
The Commissioners of the Alms-House, vs. Alexander Whistelo, a Black Man; Being a Remarkable Case of Bastardy...
The Commissioners of the Alms-House, vs. Alexander Whistelo, a Black Man; Being a Remarkable Case of Bastardy...
Black Man on Trial for Bastardy, 1808

The Commissioners of the Alms-House, vs. Alexander Whistelo, a Black Man; Being a Remarkable Case of Bastardy...

New York: David Longworth, 1808. Disbound. Octavo. 56 pages. Edges are worn and somewhat curled. Some soil to external leaves. Last leaf is detached, has tears with old stitched repairs, and is partially missing. However, complete text of said leaf supplied by images of another copy.

The courtroom proceedings as a Black man is charged with bastardy in New York at the beginning of the 19th century. Alexander Whistelo was claimed by the mother herself to be the father of her female bastard child, which she had left in the care of the New York City Alms House. The municipality then sought compensation from Whistelo for the ongoing care of the child "under the act passed 6th March, 1801, for the relief of cities and towns from the maintenance of bastard children." Whistelo denied being the father and this trial before Mayor, Recorder, and Several Aldermen of New York resulted.

The mother, one Lucy Williams, was a mulatto, and ultimately the evidence failed to convince the court, largely because the child's features seemed to point to a white rather than a black father and Whistelo was discharged.

Ref. Sabin 103312.


Item #963

Price: $750

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