1851 HOLY BIBLE. Presented by the Governor of Alabama - Civil War - Plantation Owner.
1851 HOLY BIBLE. Presented by the Governor of Alabama - Civil War - Plantation Owner.
1851 HOLY BIBLE. Presented by the Governor of Alabama - Civil War - Plantation Owner.
1851 HOLY BIBLE. Presented by the Governor of Alabama - Civil War - Plantation Owner.

1851 HOLY BIBLE. Presented by the Governor of Alabama - Civil War - Plantation Owner.

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A fascinating physical artifact that embodies the confusion we can feel as people in the 21st century looking back at the Church in the South during the era of slavery, the Confederacy, and the Civil War. 

And here it is, in all its contradictory awkwardness. A beautifully bound full morocco Bible in a rather fine binding with two inscriptions from R. M. Patton.

On the fly leaf, in light pencil "Miss Ellen Martin. A token of remembrance from her friend & Sabbath School Teacher. R. M. Patton. July 16th, 1854."

And inscribed on the blank ffep, in sepia ink "A token for remembrance for Miss Ellen Martin from her friend R. M. Patton, Florence, Alabama. July 16, 1853." 

We suppose the 1853 inscription was when the Bible was gifted and the second when Patton moved away a year later. 

Patton's family owned a large plantation that owned around 300 slaves, two of his sons gave their lives as soldiers in the Confederate Army, and he was the Alabama delegate to the "National Convention" for the Confederacy in Charleston, South Carolina in 1860 and was a part of the Secession Convention at Montgomery. Then after the war, he represented Alabama at the National Convention in 1865 and was elected Governor of Alabama the same year. 

So a slave owning, pro-Confederacy Governor of Alabama, . . . and Sabbath School Teacher . . . when he thinks of what what to give a long-time young friend as a special token of their friendship chooses a Bible. Tragic. A wonderful little historically charged artifact.

The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Translated Out of the Original Greek and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. New York. American Bible Society. 1851. 

Attractive red full morocco binding, some rubbing, now consolidated. Some occasional stains and handling marks. Generally solid.