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Rare Parchment Manuscript Of US Declaration Of Independence Found In England.
Rare parchment manuscript of US Declaration of Independence found in England.

Two Harvard researchers have found only the second known parchment manuscript
of America’s formative text in a West Sussex archive.

'When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to visit a tiny records office
in southern England because it claims to have a copy of the Declaration of Independence,
a decent respect for history requires investigation.

On Friday two Harvard University researchers announced they had found a parchment
copy of the declaration, only the second parchment manuscript copy known to exist besides
the one kept in the National Archives in Washington DC.

Professor Danielle Allen and researcher Emily Sneff presented their findings on the document,
known as “The Sussex Declaration”, at a conference at Yale on Friday, and published initial
research online.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1677]

Sneff found her first clue of the manuscript in August 2015, while compiling records for a university
database. “I was just looking for copies of the Declaration of Independence in British archives,” 
Sneff told the Guardian.

But the listing, for the West Sussex record office, struck Sneff as odd because it mentioned
parchment, a material suggesting a document made for a special occasion and not simply
a broadside copy.

“I reached out to them a bit skeptically,” Sneff said. “The description was a little vague but once
we saw an image and talked to a conservator we started to get excited.”

Before Sneff asked, the British officials had never taken a close look at the manuscript.
They had received it in 1956 from a local man, who worked with a law firm that represented the
dukes of Richmond. “The closer we looked at it there were just things that made it a clearly
unique and mysterious document,” Sneff said.

Allen and Sneff first tried to deduce when and where the manuscript was made by analyzing
handwriting, spelling errors and parchment styles and preparation. They concluded it dated to
the 1780s, and was produced in America, most likely in New York or Philadelphia.

Their next question proved more difficult: who was the man behind the parchment?
Allen and Sneff believe the leading candidate was James Wilson, a Pennsylvania delegate
to the continental congress, one of six men to sign both the declaration and constitution, and,
later, one of the original supreme court justices.

The researchers argue that Wilson, who argued vociferously for a popularly-elected president
and separation of powers, played a more influential role in American history than most historians
have recognized.

The clue that led them to Wilson, Sneff said, was a stark anomaly on the manuscript compared
to its counterpart in Washington DC and later copies:
“The names of the signers are all scrambled.”

Unlike previously known copies of the declaration, which have signatures grouped by states,
the Sussex copy has its signatures in a patterned jumble. Sneff and Allen hypothesize that the
appearance of randomness was deliberate and symbolic, part of a nationalist argument that the
United States was founded by citizens, each created equal, and not by a looser confederation
of states...'

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
[Image: attachment.php?aid=953]
Awesome find!   minusculeclap  Too bad it's not worth the paper it's written on these days, thanks to the previous administration!  tinyok

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