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Adams, a former President of the United States and a then-U.S. Representative, was given the Bible as a gift in thanks for his representation of the Mende captives in the case of United States v. The Amistad before the Supreme Court, who were freed when the Court ruled in their favor.
The Mendi Bible was presented along with a letter of thanks which read in part:
We are about to go home to Africa. We go to Sierra Leone first, and then we reach Mendi very quick. When we get to Mendi we will tell the people of your great kindness. Good missionary will go with us. We shall take the Bible with us. It has been a precious book in prison, and we love to read it now we are free! Mr. Adams, we want to make you a present of a beautiful Bible! Will you please to accept it, and when you look at it or read it, remember your poor and grateful clients?...
For the Mendi people. CINQUE, KINNA, KALE.
Boston, Nov. 6, 1841.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the state's first African-American governor, took his oath of office on the Mendi Bible on January 4, 2007, and took his second oath of office on the Mendi Bible on January 6, 2011.
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