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calendar   Thursday - July 02, 2009

Rare copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence found gathering dust in BRITAIN’S National Archive

Hey ... How about this.  What a find.

Here’s some reader comments from The Mail.

Contrary to what many think, the declaration was not signed on July 4. The first public reading was on July 8. It was not engrossed until 7/19, and ordered to be signed. The signing did not start until Aug 2. Happy 233rd birthday!

- Marlene, Alexandria, VA, 02/7/2009 15:47

Please preserve that copy for us just in case ours goes missing. The idiots in Washington don’t seem to remember what it says or why it was written.

- Terrie, Houston, USA, 02/7/2009 15:15


Declaration of Independence found gathering dust in BRITAIN’S National Archive

By Tom Kelly
Last updated at 4:45 PM on 02nd July 2009

An original first print of the United States Declaration of Independence has been discovered gathering dust in Britain after nearly 250 years.

The poster size proclamation, which is in perfect condition and is said to be worth £5million, is one of only 26 surviving initial copies of the document that changed the course of history.

It was found by complete chance by an American antiquarian bookseller carrying out unrelated research in the National Archives in Kew, West London.

The manuscript was hidden among files of correspondence from U.S. colonists that had been intercepted by the British in the 18th century.

The Declaration of Independence was mainly written by the U.S. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, and is described by historians as ‘America’s birth certificate.’

It was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776 which announced that the thirteen American colonies that were at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire.

It includes the then extraordinary assertion: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal,’ which sent shockwaves through the hereditary European monarchies, and paved the way for the French Revolution 13 years later.

The document was finalised and approved in Philadelphia on July 4 1776 and the 200 first copies were made by printer John Dunlap that night and distributed throughout the colonies the following morning to be read aloud to the colonists and their militia.

It is not certain how the newly discovered copy came into British hands, but it is likely to have been captured by the Royal Navy during the American Revolutionary War which continued for seven years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The last discovery of a Dunlap print was at a flea market in 1989, and it sold at auction in 2000 for £4.94million.

Despite its value, the National Archives said it will not be selling the print, although it might be loaned to former foes in the U.S.

‘The Americans are very excited by it,’ said a spokesman.

‘We do often loan out our key documents and I’m sure if an American institution wanted to borrow it, we would consider lending it to them.

‘It’s amazing that it has been lying here for so long undetected. It just shows how many documents we have.’

Edward Hampshire, the diplomatic and colonial specialist at the National Archives, said it was an incredibly exciting find.

‘It is likely that only around 200 of these were ever printed, so uncovering a new one nearly 250 years later is extremely rare, especially one in such good condition’.

The National Archives already has two other copies of the Declaration of Independence, one of which it keeps on display.

The Declaration was signed by 56 delegates from the colonies including two future presidents, Jefferson and John Adams, prompting church bells to ring over Philadelphia.

In the U.S. July 4 is marked by a public holiday, known as Independence Day.

SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/02/2009 at 01:28 PM   
Filed Under: • FREEDOMPatriotismUK •  
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