A Rare Copy of the Declaration of Independence Found Across the Atlantic
The New York Post reported researchers discovered a copy of the Declaration of Independence in storage at a record office in southern England. According to a press release from Harvard University, the document being called “The Sussex Declaration,” apparently dates back to the 1780s. It is believed to have once belonged to the Third Duke of Richmond, known as the “Radical Duke” for his support of the Americans during the Revolution. The historic find is on the same “ornamental scale” as the Matlack Declaration, housed in the National Archives, the release said. In August 2015 researcher Emily Sneff, of the Declaration Resources Project, was attempting to create a database on every known edition of the Declaration, she told The Harvard Gazette. The document caught her attention because of the catalog listing that it was a manuscript on parchment. Her and Harvard’s Danielle Allen began to investigate. After reviewing a photo of the document from the archives she realized it was different than any other copy she had ever seen before. “When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren’t in the right order—John Hancock isn’t listed first, there’s a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it—and it’s in a handwriting I hadn’t seen before,” she added. “As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle’s attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen.” The researchers will continue to study how the document reached England, as well as attempt to decipher some text that appears to be scraped away at the top of the parchment, according to the Gazette.
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