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The Declaration of Independence: The Mystery of the Lost Original

Author(s): Julian P. Boyd


Source: The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 100, No. 4 (Oct., 1976), pp.
438-467
Published by: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20091099
Accessed: 12-12-2015 00:05 UTC
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The Declaration

of Independence:
(?Mystery of the Lost Original

The

two centuries
the past
miscon
many
legends, myths,
errors
have
and
clustered
about
the
ceptions,
palpable
of
which
Declaration
title,
Independence?a
incidentally,

Over

it never

these

bore.1 Among

all but

is the

universal

belief

that

the

in the National
enshrined
copy on parchment
signed
engrossed,
text of what
its author
called "this
is the sole, authentic
Archives
our
union."2
document
that exalted
Beyond
question,
holy bond of
of the
in the affections
its primacy
and always will retain
should
American

people.
character

nor
its
symbolic
appeal
powerful
a
of
the
truth
that,
recognition
by
are set forth in more
its fundamental
principles

Neither

its

can be

lessened

unique
like Magna
Carta,
than one form. Unrivalled
only

the most

notable

as official

designated

in the
of

texts.

public

esteem,

it is nevertheless
entitled

several

copies
legitimately
of these was brought
for a particular
purpose

to be

into existence
at a particular

Each

of government
by authority
the signed and engrossed
time. All of them,
copy, share in
including
of the prototype
which
common
the fact that they are derivatives
on
of
which
was adopted
the
and
4,
evening
July
1776,
by Congress
at
moment
of its
from
almost
the
history
disappeared
unhappily
to
to
that
of
article
describe
this
It is the purpose
creation.
attempt
its several
and to identify
document
missing
as having
status.
official
be regarded

which

derivatives

may

1
"There

Timothy
1Charles

no

is certainly

Pickering
Warren,

"Fourth

secret

declared

of July Myths,"

1946), 237-272.
(July,
2
to Dr.
John Mease,
Jefferson
in P. L. Ford, ed., Writings
printed

in

regard

to

the

in 1811, "for it must

Sept.
26,
of Thomas

William

1825,

and Mary

Jefferson

Jefferson

Papers,

(New York,

declaration,"

be a public

Quarterly,
Library
1899),

3rd

Ser.,

of Congress;

346.

438

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II

the

1976

now

document

among

assumption.
plausible
ardent
critics of both
have
This

nothing
is surprising,

it was

whether

had

ample

incentive

all his works.

and

439

This was a
Congress."3
of the first and most
to
and its author,
appears

the Declaration

for he

also had a powerful

independence

the papers of the Old


one
But Pickering,

to ascertain

done

Jefferson

of

declaration

As

in fact.
grounded
to do so and he

opportunity

in his abiding hatred of Thomas


of

Secretary

from

State

to

1795

1800, he had had official custody of the papers of the Continental


from 1803
States
Senator
his terms as a United
During
Congress.
two
to 1811, he had begun an effort that would
last almost
decades
to show how
for
deserved
little
credit
the
Jefferson
composing
inWashington,
In 1805, while
the
Declaration.
he had been shown
of

originals
enclosed

Jefferson's
text
holograph
framed."4

originally
accuracy
of State.
ments

of

the

Instead,
and made

He

to Richard
Lee
and of the
Henry
to
"as agreed
and also, as
by the House,
to verify
could
have
the
easily
sought

letter

text

the
by examining
a scrupulously
he made
comment
the following

in the Department
copy of both docu

records
exact
upon

:5

them

The preceeding Copy of the Declaration


of Independence
has this day
been examined by me; and on a careful comparison with the original copy
in the hand-writing
of Thomas
of the United
Jefferson, now the President
it is an exact tran
States, I find that in every word, letter, and point ...
...
as mentioned
in Mr. Jefferson's
letter. . . . The
script of that copy
are
to
of
the
and
made
letter
declaration
Mr. Jefferson's
copies
conformably
. . . and a
as
sentences
with
small
such
letters
beginning
peculiarities;
departure from the standard spelling of some words.
In

addition,
documents.

to make
allowed
others
Pickering
also counted
the precise
He
number
draft

Jefferson's
gress, arriving
and of course

and

in the deletions

at the conclusion
improved?by

that
these

and
the

copies of
of words

text had

two

both

in

by Con
shortened?

made

additions

alterations.

the

been

But

of his

in spite

3
to Henry
His
3, 1811, Pickering
Pickering
Timothy
Lee, May
Papers, Massachusetts
torical Society.
4
to Richard
et al., eds., The Papers
Jefferson
Henry
Lee, July 8, 1776, Julian P. Boyd,
of
I (Princeton,
As suggested
Thomas
have
1950), 455-456.
Jefferson must
Jefferson,
below,
enclosed
with his manuscript
broadsides
the Declaration
copy one of the Dunlap
showing
"as agreed to by the House."
5
Pickering's
meticulously
memorandum
accompanying

exact
dated

are in the Pickering


transcripts
at Washington,
Feb. 26, 1805.

Papers

along

with

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the

440

P. BOYD

JULIAN

October

to every detail,
to ascertain
he never
sought
sent to
of Congress
whether
the draft Jefferson
to by the House."
It is to
Lee coincided
with
the text "as agreed
on any other occasion
ever
whether
be doubted
Pickering
accepted
so
for whom
made
he
any assertion
by the man
unquestioningly
an
such
entertained
hostility.
implacable

meticulous
from

attention

records

the

But

if he himself

archives,
a Fourth

the answer

to seek

failed
be

he may
of July

with

credited

at Salem

address

the government
among
to do so. At
others
stimulating
to a
in 1823, Pickering
brought

and to
Jefferson's
authorship
in the prin
could be discerned
demonstrate
little originality
or
of
the
Declaration.6
The
the
arguments
address,
though
ciples
to the dignity
in an allusion
and even polite
restrained
surprisingly
nerves.
In his
sensitive
of Jefferson's
touched
nevertheless
style,
to
for facts about
had appealed
the authorship,
search
Pickering
climax

his

long
how

as

Adams

John

the

only

authority

capable

of

them.

providing

quoting his own letter of inquiry in the address, he did

Without

include Adams'
his

to denigrate

effort

feelings

response.

in a lengthy

saw the result, he revealed


Jefferson
to James Madison
comment
:7

When

and prejudices,
If his principles
gave us no reason
personal and political,
to doubt whether he had truly quoted the information he alledges to have
I should then say that, in some of the par
received from Mr. Adams,
ticulars

Mr.

Adams's

memory

has

led

him

into

unquestionable

error.

. . .

the better for having a fourth of it ex


thinks the instrument
Timothy
punged. He would have thought it still better had the other three fourths
gone out also, all but the single sentiment
(the only one he approves)
to
his
dear
she is willing
which recommends
England, whenever
friendship
as being
to be at peace with us. . . . In other words,
that the Declaration,
a libel on the government
in times of passion,
of England,
composed
should now be buried in utter oblivion to spare the feelings of our English
them that
fellow citizens. But it is not to wound
friends and Angloman
we wish to keep it in mind; but to cherish the principles of the instrument
...
to Mr.
In opposition
however
in the bosoms of our own citizens.
I
be
that
these
God
eternal.
pray
Pickering,
principles may

6 Col.
to Reading
the Declaration
Observations
of Independence
Introductory
Pickerings
is in the Pickering
of the Observations
Papers.
(Salem,
1823). The manuscript
7
to John Adams,
Massachusetts
2, 1822, Adams
Family
Aug.
Manuscripts,
Pickering
to James
to Pickering,
Adams
Historical
Papers;
Jefferson
Aug.
6, 1822, Pickering
Society;
in Ford, ed., Writings,
X, 266-269.
printed
Aug. 30, 1823, Jefferson Papers,
Madison,

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THE

1976
The

expression
because
quoted

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

of doubt
of

as to whether

Adams
was

hostility
political
the severe
criticisms

had

44I
been

accurately
but
the
harsh,
in Pickering's

unduly

between
difference
expressed
tone of the address
of
and
the
Adams
moderate
private
inquiry
to the national
of the orator
mood
both to the sensitiveness
testified
of
of Jefferson's
the
and to the accuracy
real
motive.
perception
as it was,
was
Fourth
of July
address
Restrained
Pickering's
some feeling even among
in the press, arousing
those
noticed
widely
could not be properly
political
principles
Herald
of the Shenandoah
The
editors

whose
sonian.

of John Quincy
Adams
supporters
the
that
the
original
by
charge
and that much
wholly engrossed"

as Jeffer
ardent

described

in Virginia,
were
for the presidency,

text

of

had

been

offended
was

the Declaration

"not

deleted.

any
Disclaiming
to defend
he came from their state,
because
its author
they
a letter to Adams,
of State,
if one
then Secretary
addressed
asking
a copy of the original
of the departmental
could prepare
clerks
intent

so

instrument
This

seems

that

to have

inform
their
they might
the earliest
been
attempt
the exact

of

readers
made
nature

the

facts.

to
by anyone
of the Declara

from the records of Congress


verify
No evidence
has been found
tion as originally
by Congress.
adopted
or that their
was
to indicate
with
that the editors'
complied
request
letter was even acknowledged.8
The

next

to

check

came
of Congress
the American
Philosophical

the

files

shortly
On August
19, 1825,
Society
as a gift the originals
of Jefferson's
letter to Lee and the
received
so carefully
that Pickering
of the Declaration
had
draft
copied
document
latter
bore an endorsement
years earlier. The
twenty
by
a member
the text as the one "reported
of the Lee family defining
impulse

thereafter.

attribution
to Congress."
fixed in the official
became
This erroneous
the highly
records of the Society when
gift was recorded
appreciated
as being "The Draught
of the Declaration
of Independence
originally
to Congress."9
Librarian
of the
When
John Vaughan,
presented
sought

Society,
8 Smoot

& Foster

Manuscripts.
9 Donation
"A Note
pendence,"

from

Jefferson

to John Quincy

Adams,

any

particulars

Woodstock,

Va.,

he might
July

be able

19, 1823, Adams

to

Family

text in I. Minis Hays,


19, 1825, American
Society;
Philosophical
Book, Aug.
of the Declaration
of Inde
of the Jefferson Manuscript
the History
Draught
XXXVII
1898), 88.
(Philadelphia,
Proceedings,

on

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442
give
told
the

P. BOYD

JULIAN
or copy"
the "original
of "original"
the meaning
as reported
document
should
about

that
was

that

be

October

had been donated,


one of definition

found

the

among
copy sent

he was
and

that
of

records

to Lee might
To this Jefferson
added
that the
Congress.
to show on its face whether
it had been made
be expected
"after
. . . with
of the instrument
of Con
the passage
the amendments
document
would
gress."10 The
it contained
ceived
by Lee,
seems not
Vaughan
Congress.

indeed
none

of

to have

have

confirmed

the

amendments

realized

this. As

re

made

by

but

this,
Jefferson's
him to inquire whether
the text as submitted
prompted
in the files of Congress.
found
The
that it was
discovery
on the
to confirm
seemed
the endorsement
however,
only

suggestion
could be
missing,
Lee
copy

and its acceptance


an able
librarian

Vaughan,

in the official
who

of

records

the Society.
the
increase

to
had done much
a formal
statement

later made
in which
he
collections,
Society's
since "the
has not been
concluded
that,
form
proposed
originally
. . . the Document
in possession
of the Society
has with
found
the
become
sole
had
original
Draught."11
Vaughan
good
propriety
to a librarian's
reason
to succumb
to cherish
natural
tendency
most

his

institution's

Lee's

grandson
to the Society.
After
Jefferson

own

to present

possessions.
these and

It was
other

he who
important

sent Vaughan
had
inadvertently
a
was
to elapse
before
century
road, half
answer
in the files of Congress.
the correct

taken

sought
Chamberlain

had

persuaded

manuscripts
down

this mis

another

inquirer
1884 Mellen
in a different
form:
In

it by putting
the question
of the Declaration,
and adopted
after being amended
on July
on
"forthwith
and thereupon
sub
paper
engrossed
4th,
then present
scribed
Both
except Dickinson?"
by all the members

was

found

the draft

and Thomas

JohnAdams
Journal,
erroneous
ing his

had

declared

and
inquiries

Jefferson,
that it was.

relying upon
Chamberlain

themisleadingprinted
the Journal
proved

so. In the process,


equally
to the Department
of State,
he learned

the two statesmen

address
that

the

10
to John Vaughan,
of Congress.
Jefferson
Sept.
16, 1825, Jefferson Papers,
Library
Ford,
to the Declaration
includes
that part of the letter pertaining
ed., Writings,
X,
345-346,
of the text is omitted.
without
that the remainder
indicating
11 "Note
to the Original
of the Declaration,"
and prepared
Draught
signed by Vaughan
for the Prince de Joinville
in 1841, Hays,
in the original.
97-99,
"Note,"
emphasis

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THE

1976

DECLARATION

text of the Declaration

earliest

OF INDEPENDENCE
as adopted

443

on that date

was

inserted

in the Secret Journal in the form of a printed broadside bearing the


of John Dunlap.
that: he was
Not
that no
informed
only
on
as
text
28
of the document
submitted
June
by the
manuscript
of Five?Thomas
Committee
John Adams,
Jefferson,
Benjamin
to be
R. Livingston?was
and Robert
Sherman,
Franklin,
Roger
imprint

a new
in the departmental
files. This
should have prompted
answer
intent upon gaining
the
line of inquiry. But Chamberlain,
to a footnote
to his query
as he had framed
this part
it, relegated

found

of the remarkably full and detailed information supplied him by


Theodore F. Dwight, Chief of the Bureau of Rolls and Library of
of State. Having
achieved
his purpose,
he regretted
the Department
erroneous
Journal
with
its
under
that
the
entry
July 4
only
printed
that the "declaration
stand for all time as indicating
would
was, by
on
and signed by the . . .members"
order of Congress,
engrossed,
that day.12
moved
that if the resolutions
did note
by Richard
on
not
for
"had
been pre
independence
Henry
June 7 calling
never
have known
their authentic
served
the files, we should
form from any public
But
the more
record."13
report
important
Chamberlain
Lee
on

submitted
the public
form. This
more

of Five had not been


by the Committee
its entire
record therefore
could not reveal

and
preserved
and authentic

all the
gap in the files should have appeared
to
of the tribute paid
Charles
Thomson
by
to Chamberlain:
"To him we owe
communication

astonishing
because
puzzling

in his
Dwight
of all the records
the preservation
not only the Journals,
but all those

of

the Continental
Congress?
now so precious,
e.g.,
fragments
of committees,
the small odds and
of history."14
The
tribute was fully

the original motions,


the reports
are the small bones
ends, which
in history
deserved.
had
Never
before
from the moment
it occurred,
recorded

the origin of a nation


been
much
less by such an im

12Mellen

of the Declaration
of Independence,"
"The Authentication
Massa
Chamberlain,
Historical
2d. Ser., I (Boston,
modestly
1885), 273. Chamberlain
Society, Proceedings,
that his paper presented
had given
disclaimed
yet no one previously
any new discovery,
or
so
case
of
the
in
the entry
in
such a thorough
facts
the
had
conclusively
proved
analysis
chusetts

under
the printed Journal
13
Ibid., 294.
14Theodore
F. Dwight

July

4,

to Mellen

1776 to be erroneous.
Chamberlain,

Dec.

23,

1884,

ibid.,

289-291,

n.

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444

P. BOYD

JULIAN

October

on every aspect
of documentary
evidence
to the most
from the most
of policy
critical decisions
of accounting.
Never
before
had a single man
been

mense

mass

of recording
such
privilege
could have met
any other
greater

fidelity,
to the

brought
owes him

an event.

and

a debt

trivial

the

to imagine

that

and understanding
this prodigious
accomplishment
of gratitude
it has never
sufficiently
were
of history
there is missing

as approved
Congress

by

document
that

body,

assembled."

the nation
recognized.

in
preserved
carefully
from it the first official

which,
bore the

of the UNITED

details

accorded

with
responsibility
than Charles Thomson

industry,
task. For

by the Representatives
in General

is it easy

a demanding

such

the small bones


while
Yet,
this great body of records,
text of the world-shattering
gress

Nor

of its creation

as reported
to Con
"A
title
Declaration

STATES OF AMERICA,
the

Surely

responsibility

for

its

absence from the files could not justly be placed upon the faithful
of Congress.

Secretary

ii
to pose
in the face of this incongruous
But
loss, we are obliged
and Chamberlain
which Vaughan
did not ask. What
the questions
re
was
of Five
which
the Committee
the form of the document

ported ?Why did it disappear ?How did its unique character become
?The answers
into a printer's
broadside
lost while being transformed
even though,
must
to the questions
in the absence
of the
be sought
no
con
exact
of
it
is
But
document
itself,
possible.
description
instrument
that
the
historian
reconstruction,
indispensable
jectural
to employ when
the documentary
evidence
is lacking,
is a
is obliged
It is also dangerously
instrument.
often
double-edged,
legitimate
more
of
and unfortunately
misused
upon
inflicting
capable
damage
In this instance,
the careless wielder.
the truth than upon
however,
the

gap
conspicuous
Thomson
is surrounded
putable
virtually
the report

in

so
records
such a number

the

by
as to render
authenticity
risk. In addition,
without
of

the Committee
their own

make

by Congress
of its nature.
standing

the
the

of Five
significant

was

faithfully
of related
reliance

preserved
by
texts of indis

upon

circumstances
received
contribution

conjecture
under which

and

acted upon
to our under

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THE

1976

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

445

to be taken
and by far the most
circumstance
important
on the first of
is that involving
the action by Congress
these United
resolutions?"That
Colonies
are, and of right
to be, free and independent
that they are absolved
States,

The

first

into account
Lee's

ought
to the British
from all allegiance
and
Crown,
nection
them and the State of Great
between

con
all political
and
is,
ought
on
had been made

that

Britain

to be,

This
crucial decision
totally dissolved."15
as lasting nine
later described
July 2 after a debate which
Jefferson
hours without
all the powers
which
pause or refreshment,
"during
of the soul had been distended
of
the
the object."16
by
magnitude
Compared
discussion

with

the debate

over

the

which

decided
which

document

this

great

question,
and
sought
around
revolving

a secondary
order,
justify
nature
of the arguments
of presentation
and the mode
to
assent
at
once
win
lated
home
and abroad.
Second,
the

resolution

event

had

urgently

was

of

been

preoccupied
for developing

alliances,

Congress
adopted,
naturally
than ever with measures
for
a plan

of

for obtaining
army,
to independence.
form
The
to
be
related
recognized
integrally

its appeal

gained

approval
by
whose
aid was

to
the

best

calcu

the

fateful
more

became

securing
foreign
for supplying

confederation,
and for
finances,

Washington's
commitment
course

the

announced

of

the
sustaining
was of
the Declaration

to these

the American

for unless

objects,

and

people
the result

by

the

be
powers
European
being
might
sought,
were carried
it should be noted
failure. Finally,
that the proceedings
on in secret. This
was a revolutionary
is understandable,
for Congress
who
all
of
and
those
had
their
and
body
lives, their fortunes,
pledged
to support
their sacred honor
the resolution
for independence
could
have

been

for overt

arraigned

acts

of

treason

if the

to arms

resort

had failed.
It was

in these

circumstances

that

of

of Five which
the Committee
had
on
all
presented
June 28. "We were
wrote,

"Congress

was

impatient,

and

Congress
lain on

took
the

up the report
table since being
later
John Adams

in haste,"
Instrument

the

was

reported,

15 Lee's

from the Papers


resolutions
of the Continental
Record
Congress,
Group
are reproduced
in facsimile
in Julian P. Boyd,
The Declaration
Archives,
of the Text (Princeton,
pendence: The Evolution
1945).
16
to the editor of Journal de Paris,
Jefferson
Aug. 29, 1787, Papers, XII,
6^.
tional

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59, Na
of Inde

P. BOYD

October

446

JULIAN

as I believe,
in Jefferson's
no
about
doubt
could be

handwriting
the prevailing

haste,

there

be any

of urgency.
Nor,
was
as submitted

could
indeed,
in Jefferson's

it. That

drafted

it had
course

in the

"Whenever,

as he first

it."17 There

drew

that

question

sense

and

impatience,

the

text

as he first

not

handwriting?though
several
is clear.
stages
through
a copy became
over
of the composition,

evolved

to be read with amendments,"


wrote
and difficult
Jefferson
it fair, and when
"I copied
that also was crouded with other
fair copy was made &c. These
another
amendments,
rough draughts
to know what was pass
to
I sent
distant
friends who were anxious
charged,
in 1825,

both

ing."18 This

overstated
to

case

the

and

of

the

confused

it. It also

violated

his

charge
having
Jefferson
a composition
if indeed he had revealed
either
secrecy
had acted. But the important
fair copy before Congress
to various
it had done
friends
after
so, he sent copies

posed

show

text

the

"as
afford

copies
quent
submitted
document

fact

is that,
to
in order

to Congress.
subse
These
reported"
of the nature
of the
reliable
evidence
to Congress
after numerous
deletions
which,
on

adoption

official

the first
from

this

their

authority
in American
documents

is the one which

document

of
pledge
draft or a

originally
the most

became
and substitutions,
derive
Declaration.
They
one of the most
interesting
That

ex

text

of

the

relationship

to

history.19

in old

age, mistakenly
as the "original Rough
to him
it
because
seemed
described
draught"
to be scored and scratched
like a schoolboy's
exercise.
It was not
a fair copy of
been originally
that much
having
disfigured,
quite
to
not
some prior composition
have
survived.
draft which
appears
made
But
and
it does bear on its face a few alterations
by Adams
Franklin

own

Jefferson,

correc
it embodies
some
suggested
himself,
including
possibly
by Jefferson
of the Committee
of Five.
members
during
Subsequently,
in their

handwriting.

In addition,

tions made
by other
or after

the

debates

in Congress,

he

indicated

on

it the principal

17

to Timothy
Aug. 6, 1822, Adams
Pickering,
Family Manuscripts.
John Adams
to John Vaughan,
See note 10.
Sept.
16, 1825, Jefferson Papers.
Jefferson
19 It is known that
sent fair copies to Richard Henry
Edmund
Lee, Philip Mazzei,
Jefferson
of all that are known
also to John Page. Facsimiles
and George Wythe,
perhaps
Pendleton,
as taken from the text incorporated
to survive,
for James Madison
the copy made
including
18

notes of debates
in Jefferson's
see Papers,
I, 315-319.

in Congress,

are reproduced

in facsimile

in Boyd,

Declaration;

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1976

THE

DECLARATION

OF INDEPENDENCE

amendments

made

by that body.
the corrections

or

for determining
made
their

its approximate
in it. For
changes

or

almost

all,
every stage of
in its evolution
took a
nately

with
became
overlaid
all,
at
additions
added
that were
to end. At an early point
from beginning
its progress
it to John Adams,
who
submitted
fortu
Jefferson
fair copy of it in his own handwriting
and thus estab
of

lished

a criterion

before

he and Franklin

the

fair

July

447

It thus

text

as

it stood

the same

reason,
and sent to his friends
after
by Jefferson
for removing
from "the original
Rough
of amendments
made
overlay
by Congress.

copies executed
are touchstones

the additional
draught"
As Jefferson
himself
and as the texts prove,
declared
they were
from that complicated
In their original
transcribed
draft.20
state,
no
with
of
three exceptions,
the
contained
indication
amend
they
or proposed
ments made
which
have
These
by Congress.
exceptions,
not
are
been discussed
and
elsewhere
need
im
be detailed
here,
as indicating
executed
copies?were

portant

of Five

had

been

that

at least

sometime
and

submitted

in Congress.21
Such
immediacy
as
to their authority
weight

two of them?the
after

and Lee
Wythe
the report of the Committee
were made
other alterations

before
at a critical

authentic

moment
reflections

in history
adds
the earliest

of

text of the Declaration.


stage of the first official
are known
of these contemporaneous
to survive?
Three
copies
two
an
to
sent
re
the
and another
unidentified
just mentioned
for minor
of punctuation,
details
cipient.22 Except
capitalization,
and

the variant

use

of

for the conjunction,


their
ampersand
sent to George Wythe
was
the first to
to the public,
be made
known
in the Richmond
appeared
having
a
after Wythe's
death
and being widely
Enquirer
only
fortnight
other
It
also
bears
of having
been
evidence
newspapers.
copied by
texts to be executed
the first of the surviving
This
by Jefferson.23
texts

are

identical.

The

the

one

20
to John Vaughan,
Jefferson
Sept.
16, 1825. See note 10.
21 These
are discussed
see note 25 below. The "original Rough
in Boyd, Declaration,
40-46;
has been reproduced
first
in a faithfully-executed
many
draught"
times, being
published
facsimile
in Thomas
and Miscel
engraving
Jefferson Randolph,
ed., Memoirs,
Correspondence,
the Papers
IV (Charlottesville,
lanies from
of Thomas Jefferson,
22 The Lee
is in the American
copy
Philosophical
Society.

p. 532.
1829), following
The
copy in the New York
as the one sent to Wythe.
im
The

is identified
in Boyd, Declaration,
43-45,
Library
Historical
perfect copy in the Massachusetts
Society may have been sent
23 The texts of these three
copies have been collated with other texts
The Declaration
0] Independence
(New York,
1906), 306-342.

Public

or Page.
in John H. Hazelton,

to Pendleton

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44?

JULIAN

P. BOYD

October

from Philadel
departed
of Five,
the Committee
days
phia
constitution
bearing with him the final draft of Jefferson's
proposed
served as part of the composition
for Virginia,
the first form of which
have

would

been

two

of

draft

appropriate.
Wythe
the appointment
after

the Declaration.

Always

mittee

very
assignments,
Jefferson
before his departure
the form
would
approved
Wythe
surely have
him

had
of

in discharging
his
have discussed
likely would
that that document
should

prompt

the

substance

if not

com
with
take.

the

form

of Jefferson's impassioned indictment of George III for disallowing


laws

trade. Having
the slave
been guided
by Wythe
studies
and looking up to
range of legal and other
can easily be
of the greatest men of the age," Jefferson

abolishing
a wide
through
as "one

him

to
and presenting
imagined
taking counsel with his revered mentor
him the first copy of the final composition.24
of
That
text, stripped
or
as
be
made
relied
later additions
may
upon
others,
by Wythe
of
with
document
identical
the
the
pre
wording
being virtually
on June 28.25
to Congress
sented
The
with

other
less

characteristics
Could

certainty.

"original Rough

draught"

can be established
of the missing
original
been
that document
indeed have
the

from which

Jefferson

copied

it? This

so highly
1825, with

that we may
it was not.
implausible
safely conclude
In
that text before
asserted
that after
him, Jefferson
two or three merely
and Franklin
verbal
had made
altera
Adams
a fair copy, reported
it to the Committee,
tions in it, he "then wrote
to Congress."26
so
That
them unaltered
the text was
and from
seems

slightly

altered

accept
Jefferson's
fair copy of the
latter

had

as to make

must

be doubted,
assurance
that

but
the

for

several

document

reasons
handed

we may
a
in was

In

the first place,


the
Rough
"original
draught."
so heavily
in the course of its evolution
become
corrected
it unpresentable.

Jefferson

also

retained

it in his personal

files, something he could not have done if it had been handed

in.

24

to Ralph
372.
Jefferson
Izard, July 17, 1788, Papers,
XIII,
25 The copy sent to
in facsimile
is reproduced
in Boyd, Declaration.
In the second
Wythe
is underlined
in the Wythe
line of the title the word "General"
copy, in the copy in Jefferson's
in Congress
of Proceedings
Notes
and is both bracketed
and underlined
I, 309-327),
{Papers,
in the Madison
copy,

or that

in the "original
such marking
the Lee
appears
copy. No
Rough
draught,"
Historical
It is for this reason
that the Wythe
in the Massachusetts
Society.

copy is assigned
precedence.
chronological
26
to John Vaughan,
Sept.
16, 1825. See note
Jefferson

10.

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THE

1976

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

449

it would
have
Congress,
of docketings,
additions,
in the hand
of Charles
In
and amendments
Thomson.
excisions,
a
was
fair copy, Jeffer
that the instrument
reported
1825, knowing
or anyone
son had far better
reason
than Timothy
else to
Pickering
it been

Had

borne

the document

evidence

of

that

it "should

assume

the

its disappearance
of its form.
knowledge

assume

also plausibly

may

before

actually
in the

form

be among
the records of the old Congress."27
us of some
from the files need not deprive
was
in Jefferson's
It
hand.
beyond
question

But

We

fact

its prototype
and the con
it was a four-page
and Lee,
a watermark
the appropri
bearing
of
jQiberlate. Since The Declaration
like

that,
for Wythe

made

temporaneous
copies
on paper with
written
document
ate device Pro Patriae
Eiusque

Independence painted by John Trumbull was based in large part


upon information given to him by Thomas Jefferson in Paris, it is
not without

interest

that

he

report on behalf of the Committee


hands
ment

what

is obviously

which

disappeared

report

was

being

laid

act

of Five,

of presenting

the

grasping with

both

a folded,
four-page manuscript?the
from history
thereafter.
immediately
in a single
the
because

undoubtedly
on the table
had not yet

pendence

in the

is shown

presented
that day
been acted upon.

From

on

copy
resolution

then until

docu
The

28,
June
of inde

its adoption

on July 4 it was available for inspection by members.

Judging by

of subsequent
amendments
made
during
on July
in the Committee
of the Whole
the debates
2, 3, and 4,
some of the delegates
must have subjected
it to rather close scrutiny.
was made
another
in the text, we may
As one alteration
after
the number

assume

and

that

the detail

Charles

Thomson

recorded

himself
just as Jefferson
with his
copy of its model.
of the 4th, Benjamin
On the afternoon
document

itself,
retained

of
Committee
to a Declaration

the Whole,
reported
which
he delivered

these on
was doing

the

face

of

the

simultaneously

chairman
of the
Harrison,
the members
had "agreed
in." We may
be quite
certain

that

in which Congress
situation
found
that, in the urgent
itself, Charles
a fair copy of the text as amended.
Thomson
had no time to make
he done so, the original would
Had
have been preserved
assuredly
27
Jefferson
the excisions

himself

had

and additions

assumed
made

that

this document

by Congress.

would

show

on

its face evidence

Ibid.

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of

45o

P. BOYD

JULIAN

of Lee's
first resolution
the manuscript
of time forbade his
the pressure
Indeed,

the files, along with


text it incorporated.

among
whose

October

it even

An indication
in the Secret Journal.
of the pre
of urgency
is to be found following
the entry Thomson
its deliberations,
in the Secret Journal
after Congress
resumed
Hancock
"The
Declaration
being
presiding:
again read
John

transcribing
sense
vailing
made
with

to as follows."
At this point Thomson
agreed
half of the page blank,
well
that
knowing
an
be
order that the Declaration
taken would

was

left most
the next

lower
be

of

the

action

to

be authenticated

of Five
that the Committee
and correct
and printed;
"superintend
state assemblies,
the press";
and that copies be sent to the various
to the commanding
of safety
and
and committees
conventions,
so
in
that it could be "proclaimed
officers of the continental
troops
states

of the united

each

at the head

and

folded,
printed
copies, properly
to the blank
space left by Thomson
to the Committee
this directive
given
to dispose

ceeded
faithful
It

pressing

by wafers

in the Secret

Having
Journal.
of Five,
then pro
Congress
matters
of business
and the

its actions.
recording
to suppose
to by the
that the text agreed
on
of the Whole
and read again
the 4th was the one that
a fair copy but was now perhaps
even more
as
presented

Secretary
is thus reasonable

been

and

scratched
But

other

of the

One

continued

Committee
had

of

of the army."28
be attached

later

would

scored

it bear

did

the

like a schoolboy's
of John
signature

than its prototype.


exercise
Hancock
authenticating
it as ordered
by Congress

it

?
attesting
of those most
the four-page
format
to it and also bore a heavy
of docketings
and
related
overlay
closely
not
for
official
been
these
there
would
have
space
adding
alterations,
of course could have been written
upon a separate
They
signatures.
or
to the printer.
to
sent with
the document
scrap of paper affixed

and
This

But
have

that

of Charles

Thomson

If

is doubtful.

this would

not

it followed

been

have

and

the authentication

necessary.
attestation

to state officials
and
be dispatched
to
Congress,
John Dunlap,
printer
the

requirement
it.
ordered
28 Secret
duction

in print

III, ^,
Journal,
in Boyd, Declaration.

Record

merely

Group

The
on

commanding
have
would
by

360,

being

Item

point was to
that would
copies
officers. The official

essential
those

told

1, National

known
that

how

to meet

Congress

Archives;

facsimile

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had

repro

THE

1976

DECLARATION

As

for the related

intend

and correct
reason
than

other

of more

presence
Sherman
tion

and

one

and Livingston
it is not likely

that

more

than

and probably
a printing
around
described
Jefferson

of
with

independence
an important

been won.
event?he

He

had

So far as the records


person.
show,
taken no part in preparing
the Declara
have manifested
any more
they would

Franklin,
assignment.
of the
by the standards

the most

famous

time an aged man,


his age he had no

At
twice as old as Jefferson.
no desire
to spend most
of the night hanging
seems
whom
It
that
John Adams,
unlikely
shop.
on
as "our Colossus
the floor" while
the question
in
the
would
have
bothered
himself
balance,
hung
task after the great
but undemanding
so
with
enthusiasm
indeed
transported

was

it as the greatest

described

a greater

in America,
and
men"29?as
among

perhaps
was
not

Thomson

Charles

lesser
was

in America,

printer
being
need

for

451

of Five "super
order, did the entire Committee
if for no
the press"? This we may
surely doubt,
not have
the
its execution
that
would
required
than

enthusiasm

OF INDEPENDENCE

had

battle
over

the
. . . debated
"ever
or will
be decided

question
never was
perhaps
to
him for mere proofreading.
disqualify
a member
of the Committee
of Five.

was

in
he was still busily
approved,
engaged
text
taken
that
the
that
recording
day. But, knowing
as printed would
in the Secret
in the space he
be inserted
Journal
aware
for
bear his name
also that it would
had left
it, and being
he must
that
its authenticity,
his duty
attesting
surely have met
we
assume
with
with
usual
his
So, too, may
fidelity.
night
equally

After

the Declaration
other

that
good reason
of the Committee

actions

Jefferson,
of Five,

as author
have

of the document

and as head
at the printery.

would
been present
still busy
and time
that, with Thomson
imagine
to
himself
transmitted
the
Jefferson
pressing,
manuscript
Dunlap.
to the world
one of the most
this proclamation
announcing
Surely
events
not have
to an
in history
would
decisive
been
entrusted

We

may

easily

to
when
the charge had been specifically
messenger
ordinary
given
a committee
a
was head. He,
of which
too, had
Jefferson
deep and
no
sense
of
of
American
the
duty. Also,
abiding
public
day, not
was so aware of the power of the printing
even Franklin,
press or so
29

to Abigail
July 3, 1776, Adams Family Manuscripts.
John Adams
Adams,
in L. H. Butterfield,
has been printed many
times, most
authoritatively
II (Cambridge,
Adams Family
Correspondence,
1963), 27-28.
letter

This

famous

et al.,

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eds.,

452

P. BOYD

JULIAN
new

in the

interested
It would

have

forms

been

October

of typography
then being developed.
of him to have borne
characteristic
the

quite
to the Market
Street

four blocks
printing
shop of Dunlap
a
as he would
take delight
few years
to learn more
of Paris
their new
about

document
from

the State House,


just
in visiting
the printers
It would
methods.30
also have
later

been

characteristic

of Thomson

to

to meet
in the evening
the special responsibility
that
join
known
each
other
had
since
lay upon him. They
they
1764 when
trust and respect.31
It
formed a lifelong
based on mutual
friendship
him

later

to imagine
for the printers
them in Dunlap's
is pleasant
shop waiting
no
to do their work.
in
others
involved
the
transaction
Perhaps
or
so
so
well
of
could have
grasped
symbolized
fully the meaning
to come from the press and carry its
the document
that was about
message
But

we

document

the world.
throughout
not
need
rely upon
approved

drawn

by Jefferson
bore marks
that had
this

was

conclusion

to conclude
the
that
conjecture
was
and sent to the printer
by Congress
actually
not hitherto
and that, for purposes
it
examined,
for him

significance

related

Rough
"original
which
also marks
on being wafered
text

to

known

the earliest

the Secret

that

as were
prototype
he
made
from
copies

the missing
or the
draught"
into

Evidence

supporting
in Dunlap's
night
was
from the
obliterated
turn to a document
as im

produced

inadvertently

shop and then, quite properly,


printing
we must
final result. For this evidence
mediately

alone.

stage

Journal,

of

Jefferson's
it. It is one

the broadside

became

the second

which,
official

of the Declaration.

in
That
document
as an apparently
fortunately,
from
spects

30
31

as first
See,

pulled

copy

of Dunlap's
half remains.

of Pennsylvania
un
of which,
broadside,
re
in several
It differs
Society

and from all other


Journal
copies
an
It is indeed
of
uncorrected
the
broad
proof
or whoever
to Jefferson,
and shown
Thomson,

for example,
X,
Papers,
to Charles Thomson,

Jefferson

in the Historical

unique
the upper
in the Secret

to be extant.

known
side

only
that

survives

318-326.
Jan.

9, 1916, Ford, Writings,

X,

5-7.

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THE

1976
was

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

453

the press. While


its true character
had been previ
was
not
it
until recently
that this was established
ously recognized,
an
doubt
sponsored
beyond
study
through
extraordinary
by the
of
for
this
This
purpose.
Congress
Library
specific
investigation,
overseeing

carried out by Frederick R. Goff, benefited both from his biblio


graphical
the part
side.

expertise
of private
of

Seventeen

the

an unprecedented
owners
institutional

from

and
and
the

twenty-one

uncorrected

effort on
cooperative
of copies of the broad
to exist,
including
at the Library
of
the largest number

copies known
were
assembled

Society's
proof,
inMay
Congress
1975. This was unquestionably
ever brought
in Dun
since the night
together
they were produced
its
Besides
Goff
the
achieving
lap's shop.
primary
study
object,
of the sense
of urgency
in the
revealed
indications
prevailing
In all copies
to be
that night.
the chain
lines were
found
printery
not

quite
form was

to the printed
in the
askew

parallel

it apparent
that the
text, making
was also
coffin of the press. Haste
of the copies,
folded before
being

slightly
suggested
by the fact that many
to contain
the ink was dry, were
found
offset
impressions.
was
the discovery
of the
the position
important
through
that

at least

two distinct

established
being
The
proof
unique

through
copy,

came

states

evidence
by

from

the press,

furnished

by

definition,

takes

their

damaged

precedence

More
imprint
priority
letters.
over

all

others.32

to dispatch
copies
the
have
commanding
officers,
printers must
as
with
additional
batches
the need arose. John
Congress
supplied
Hancock
did send off copies by express
riders on July 5th and 6th.
were
un
It is not known
how many
but
it is extremely
printed,
This

to state

suggests
officials

that,
and

because

of the urgent

need

to be distributed
that such an epochal manifesto,
destined
likely
to Georgia,
from New Hampshire
would
in less
have been
issued
or
one
two
than
of Congress
hundred
would
copies.33 Members
32 Frederick

R. Goff, "A Report


A Bibliographical

on the John Dunlap

of the Declaration
Broadside
Printing
1975 (mimeographed
copy). The Goff
facsimiles
of the surviving
is scheduled
including
Report,
copies of the Dunlap
broadsides,
of Congress
in 1976. Titled
for publication
The John Dunlap
The
Broadside:
by the Library
First Printing
it will contain
facsimiles
of all known copies
of the Declaration
of Independence,
of

Independence:

Study,"

August

of the broadside
the Historical
of Pennsylvania's
including
Society
proof copy.
33 A few weeks
of the Pennsylvania
constitutional
later, by direction
John
convention,
for public
consideration?an
400 copies of its draft constitution
printed
Dunlap
important

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454

P. BOYD

JULIAN

certainly
was more

desired

have

interested

copies
in doing

to send
this

October

to their

constituents.34

than

himself.

one

No
It

is not

Jefferson
to Wythe,
in sending
so
and others
copies
Lee,
as
as
text
the
with
that
compare
they might
reported
adopted,
he would
the laborious
have
effort of copying
the
gone
through
texts
were
hand
when
broadside
available.
printed
by
Always
clerical chores whenever
life
avoiding
possible,
Jefferson
throughout
as
and
such
the
devices
adopted
improved
eagerly
time-saving

very
that

likely

that,

for making
and the polygraph
copies
quick and accurate
or not he was at
and documents.
Whether
Dunlap's
shop
a responsibility
that night
upon him by Con
discharging
placed
to
have missed
the opportunity
gress, he would
scarcely
acquire
and thus save himself
several
the tedium of
copies of the broadside

copy-press
of letters

several by hand.
transcribing
of haste prevailing
The evidence
the Goff
is confirmed
study
by
proof
made

were
copy which
and which
indeed

readily

shop as disclosed
of
characteristics

in Dunlap's
the

special
discernible
it.35 The

prompted

before
least

the

study
of
apparent

in
the
was
these

but far less so than the Declaration.


"Public
of
Consideration
John N. Shaeffer,
and Biography,
1776 Pennsylvania
Constitution,"
Pennsylvania
Magazine
of History
to secrecy,
XCVIII
under a remarkably
strict injunction
(1924), 419. In the same month,
was directed
to print "80 copies, and no more" of the draft of the Act of Confederation
Dunlap
W. C. Ford, ed., Journals
for use of the members.
of the Continental
Congress, V (Washington,
to print 500 copies of the Consti
directed Dunlap
Convention
1906), 555. In 1787 the Federal
to Congress.
The Books of a New Nation
tution to be submitted
J. H. Powell,
(Philadelphia,
document
the

as Caesar Rodney
on
of Independence,
of which,
1957), 66. For the Declaration
reported
. . . will be
of its adoption,
"Hand-bills
the evening
and sent to the Armies,
printed
Cities,
or rather proclaimed
in form," it seems unlikely
that less
County Towns &c. to be published
have been struck off. Edmund
C. Burnett,
than 200 copies would
ed., Letters of Members
Congress,
of the Continental
34
himself
John Hancock
state bodies
to the various
least one
II,

to a private

1-2.
35 Since

it was

gratitude
for its grant

questions
explain

their copies
years
about

officers
to William

to the copies

as directed
Cooper,

that he sent as president


he also sent at

by Congress,
July

6, 1776, Burnett,

Letters,

a study be made,
like to express my
I should
to the Ford Foundation
in the proposal;
interest
to Mr. Goff for his remarkably
of Congress
which made
it possible;
to
all
of
and
the
institutions
and
who cooperated
individuals
study;
suggested

McGeorge
to the Library

and definitive

thorough
by lending
who some

and

commanding
Hancock
individual.

I who

to Mr.

I (Washington,
1922), 527.
was one of these. In addition

Bundy

that

such

for his

of the broadside.

I should

ago first called my attention


marks
the puzzling
quotation

like to thank Mr. David


especially
J. Hawke
to the Society's
uncorrected
proof and raised
which
led to the present
effort to
ultimately

their presence.

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THE

1976
was

the

in inserting
of the people

mistake

typesetter's

passage
institute

the

asserting
"a new

right
Government."

in

appears

the manuscript
text.
in no other

portant

characteristic

present

marks

quotation

"a"

conspicuous
the person

or

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

But

The
employed
the most

of

the

proof

in the

two

opening
marks

and

the glaring

455

an

in the
article
indefinite
to alter or abolish
and to
"a" clearly
had not been
as printer's
it
since
copy
and

obvious

is its

inclusion

im
the most
a
of
series of

Both
the in
paragraphs.36
were perceived
as errors by
the proofs
and were
removed.

persons
caused

correcting
in spacing
serious
between
the
irregularities
to
in
words
the
few
the
first
lines,
and,
compositor
sought
remedy
in succeeding
the effort
the defect. Then,
abandoning
lines, he left
as another
to the pre
of spacing
testimonial
these
irregularities
removal

Their

vailing

haste.

The

important
question
marks
but
their

is not

of these
the presence
to
It is incredible
to be expected
in a

meaning.
quotation
of the competence
that a compositor
such as Dunlap's
have placed
them there if
would
leading printery
or
to
not
been
in
had
present
something
them,
they,
comparable
the manuscript
used as copy. But what
did the anonymous
type
as
setter see and interpret
?
marks
quotation
to be made
The
first observation
is that, at the bottom
of the
are
of the "original
third page
certain
there
Rough
draught,"

puzzling
suppose

diacritical,

or distinctive,
never been

marks

which

have

noted

been

occur

but whose

as single and
meaning
explored.37 They
accents which,
if found also in the manuscript
double
used as copy
for quota
could
have
been
mistaken
compositor,
by Dunlap's
easily
tion marks.
But since their use in either document
could
obviously
not have been to indicate
were
that the passages
actually
quoted,
what was their purpose
?For the only plausible
both of
explanation
can
in the printer's
and of their presence
their meaning
copy, which
has

be

we

assumed,

must

the

the
begin with
of the Committee

report
presenting
its chairman
who, having
be added
it. To this must

upon
read

unlike

36 See
37 See

Richard

Henry

illustration

page

456.

illustration

page

457.

Lee,

fact

that

of Five

only the single


the well-known

whom

John

there

Adams

for
responsibility
to Congress
rested
have to
copy, would

fact

that
looked

Jefferson?
as a
upon

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

458

JULIAN
of uncommon

"Man

with

body

Eloquence"38?could
as Lee
effort
could.

oratorical

boldly

Wythe
silent

public
in conversation

executive,
for him.

and

decisive."40

and

explicit,

not
While

a legislative
sway
his old teacher

"or anyone
else" in elocu
correct
in saying
undeniably
was
in committees
he
frank,
"prompt,

competition
but
debate,

and

that

October

was almost
in debates
in Congress,
engaged
Jefferson
him
overstated
the floor.39 Adams
the case in describing

upon
as unable
to stand
tion

P. BOYD

As

with

Lee

he was

legislator,
whenever

preferred
Jefferson
In his years of incredibly
wide
an
awareness
to
reveal
he seemed

as diplomat,
and as chief
to
let
his
pen speak
possible
and disciplined
study under

of this natural
disposition
to ancient
of logic and
and modern
works
he gave
of these subjects
had a discernible
influence on
pursuit
of
of
Declaration
and
the
prose
arguments
logical

Wythe,
in the attention
His

rhetoric.
the

cadenced

Independence.41
But
it is especially

to note that in those years Jefferson


important
to elocution,
attention
the more
because
also gave much
so, perhaps,
court
contests
in
in
in
that
and
his legislative
he knew
his
pleadings
some of the ablest debaters
encounter
of the day.
he would
Virginia
a youth he possessed
in 1748 under
and Hall
best
(?Man's
companion,

work
the pseudonymous
issued by Franklin
the title The (?American Instructor;
or, Young
&widely
in reading
used text for instruction
Introduction
John Rice's
subjects.42 He also possessed

As

and other basic


to the (?Art of Reading
in 1765.43 In his
38 L. H.

Butterfield,

later

in London
with Energy and Propriety,
published
to read Small's
to a young
law student
advice

et al., eds., Diary

and Autobiography

of John Adams,

III

(Cambridge,

1961), 367.
39 In the debates

called him
actively
John Adams
early in 1776 in which Wythe
engaged,
"one of our best Men."
229-230.
Ibid.,
Ill, 372; see also, II, 195, 208, 211, 214-215,
40
to Timothy
Aug. 6, 1822, Adams
Pickering,
Family Manu
Ibid.,
Ill, 336; John Adams
text
Works
John
II
in
F.
G.
5i4n.
of
(Boston,
ed.,
Adams,
1856),
Adams,
scripts;
41Wilbur
of Independence
and Eighteenth-Century
"The Declaration
Samuel Howell,
XVIII
and
William
3rd.
Mary
(1961),
463-484.
Quarterly,
Ser.,
Logic,"
42
to Dr. James Ewell, Nov.
in E. Millicent
7, 1819, Jefferson
Papers;
quoted
Jefferson
I (Washington,
So wer by, Catalogue
of Thomas Jefferson,
of the Library
1952), 508.
43
a copy of the first edition
of 1765. It is
511. Jefferson
Sowerby,
possessed
Catalogue,
of
with his years of study
not known when he acquired
but
the
date
coincided
it,
publication
and

in view

conducting
it is very

his students
that Wythe
gave to instructing
in turn recommended
practice which
Jefferson
this volume was one of his early acquisitions.

of the attention
moot

likely

courts?a
that

in debating
and
to his students?

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in

THE

1976

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION

459

on elocution
works
and oratory,
and other
Speaker
no
in
that
trouble
be
the
urged
spared
Jefferson
making
presentation
to the particular
audience
because
this was
"the
last
appropriate
most
One
exercise."44
that
this admonition,
and
feels
important
as a climax
to a remarkably
of
outline
coming
comprehensive
arose
out
of
and
recommended
studies,
deep personal
experience
(?American

In
the kind of guidance
from George Wythe.
he received
own
to
for
his
careful preparation
addition
public speaking,
Jefferson
was keenly
in works
of shorthand
then and later
and
interested
reflected

abbreviated
?raphy.

of writing,
such as Thomas
and compendious
methods

methods

The

most

that hath ever yet been published


writing
in his teens had been prompted
by his
of
method
archeological
stratigraphie

later
and who
a
in
century
unprecedented
cipher?both
of their
in Europe?needed
and
independent
discovery
a
own
as
to
create
used
such works
his
stimulus
only
accents
conventional
used
He was of course familiar with
excavation

the wheel

invented
advance
probably
methods.
in works
found

Shelton's

Tachy
of short and swift
who
by any.45 But Jefferson,
love of order to conceive
the

exact

and

of elocution
in his

own

illustrative

and

phonetics.

But

manuscripts
employed
seem to have been

purposes
turn
of this we must

comparable
as reading
his own. For

to be

marks

or

for
copies
confirmation

to Jefferson's
in Paris.
years
of converting
the design
that
you to my opinion
of long and short syllables
into regular feet consti
wrote
of English
to his friend
the harmony
verse,"
Jefferson

"I began with


the arrangement
tuted

the Marquis

de Chastellux

in 1786, "I ended by discovering

that

that proposition."
The
result was Jeffer
you were right in denying
on
in which,
son's essay
called
with
English
"Thoughts
Prosody"
from
and
he
illustrative
Shakespeare
others,
employed
quotations
44

to Bernard Moore,
ca. 1773, as incorporated
of subsequent
(with the addition
Jefferson
in his letter to John Minor,
of the University
of Pennsylvania
titles)
Aug. 30, 1814, Library
a
text given
Law School;
L. Cohen,
in facsimile
in Morris
"Thomas
Jefferson Recommends
of Law
Law Review,
Course
CXIX
823-844.
Study,"
University
of Pennsylvania
(1971),
as if it were a separate
text. Jefferson
prints the letter to Moore
Ford, Writings,
IX, 480-485,
mentions

other

45Sowerby,
threw Shelton's
it had

serious

to the work

works

on rhetoric,

in this letter.
and elocution
oratory,
wrote
to Daniel
"accident
512. In 1820 Jefferson
Humphreys:
into my way when young, and I practised
it thro* life. Although
tachygraphy
I have not looked into any other with fewer" {foc. cit.). Jefferson
refers
defects,
Catalogue,

in a letter

to John Page,

Jan.

23,

1764, Papers,

I, 14-15.

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460

P. BOYD

JULIAN

October

accents
in an ascending
scale
triple, and quadruple
single, double,
was
from
of emphasis.
far
He
of accentuation
this mode
presuming
to be perfect
accent
that no two persons
the
and concluded
would
same passage
but a real adept would
alike and that "no person
accent

it twice

alike."46

not only
revealed
essay
of
stress,
study
rhythm,
timing,
ac
same
of
mode
the
employed

remarkable

This

and continuing
careful
Jefferson's
in reading:
it also
and quantity
to be found
in the "original
centuation
earlier

of

in the

and

of a decade
Rough
draught"
address
his second
inaugural

copy
reading
later.47 The
and double
diacritical
years
twenty
single
in number
from
in these two notable
differ only
documents
manu
to be found
in
in the essay on prosody.
Their
presence

delivered
marks
those

a long period of time points


to
inescapably
must
in the missing
have
also
that they
appeared
to
of Five which
it was Jefferson's
the Committee
duty
over

scripts spread
the conclusion

such

report of
read and which,
a far from

quite
unanimous

naturally,
audience

he would

have

all of

with

wished

the

force

to present

to

and

emphasis
to the great occasion.
appropriate
seen that
in Dunlap's
What
else could the typesetter
shop have
as the nearest
marks
have caused him to introduce
would
quotation
seems
to
to these peculiarly
accents?
There
Jeffersonian
equivalent
in the proof. The
for their presence
be no alternative
explanation
in the missing
text, if we may
judge from those in its proto
so
as
to
thus
be almost
been
have
indiscernible,
type, may
light
of
absence
and
the
closing
opening
perhaps
explaining
quotation
to the
in three of the passages. We may
be grateful
therefore
marks
a
who
and preserved
saw, misunderstood,
through
compositor
marks

meant
very different
something
us
meant.
Let
that
did
they
Dunlap
hope
too severely
have seemed
not chastise his journeyman
for what must
on that hectic night only a blundering
waste
of precious
time.
to the
error
once
what
been
the
had
corrected,
happened
But,
error

fortunate

from what

he

all-important

those marks

which

assumed

printer's

copy

which

should

have

been

for

preserved

46

ca. October
to the Marquis
but written
de Chastellux,
undated
1786, Papers,
Jefferson
on English
of Jefferson's
the manuscript
letter enclosed
Prosody."
"Thoughts
X, 498. This
folios 41823-37,
of Con
is in the Jefferson Papers,
His draft of twenty-seven
pages
Library
See illustration
the order is incorrect.
page 461.
gress, though
47 See

illustration,

page

463,

containing

a detail

from

folio

41834

of

the draft,

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ibid.

C(n^&/*~t?d

otee

9TuOsrv?f OtorUs?

WxAjtr
u/?JJc- thus t?irrxSc>v<?

L^eJrAr-^ jfiJUsy' ob?xrt??:

T.4,??7t ??u*-e. ?s^a^a?

fTij&rir

A?-?Ur<

u-t-ZeA.

^jt~A.

Detail

u?A?s>~cJ.

from Jefferson's

"Thoughts

\S?jts/U
on English

Prosody,"

1786

461

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462
all

P. BOYD

JULIAN
as

time

the

official

first

one

text? No

October

would

have

more

been

not only because


in preserving
it than Jefferson,
he was
of it as being,
in his words,
its author
and was justifiably
proud
from
of our
but
his youth
because
also
"the
charter
liberties,"
in
the
he
onward
life
had
been
indefatigable
preservation
throughout
interested

answer
of historical
of manuscripts
The
and artifacts
significance.
in another
connection:
be the simple one that he himself
gave
may
so
cut
of print
in
and
the
that "manuscripts
dirtied
process
up
get
Because
ing as to be in fact destroyed."48
used as printer's
copy may
manuscript
and distributed
several
sections
among
time. This,
manuscript
tion of the

appropriately
of Jefferson's
fundamental

of the haste
actually

that night,
have been cut

the
into

to save

in order

compositors
to the
what happened
is precisely
enough,
reaffirma
first
inaugural?that
eloquent
set forth
of
in the Declaration
principles

who
Samuel
Harrison
Smith,
fortunately
Independence?though
was given
it in type, reassembled
of first putting
the
the privilege
and preserved
the whole.49
did the
parts
Possibly
John Dunlap
same with
the first official text of the Declaration.
Possibly
Jefferson,
to manuscripts
in a
in reflecting
sometimes
upon what
happened
printing
document

shop,

was

only

unprecedented

and
remembering
in human
annals.

regretting

the

loss of

IV
wrote
to
for some Time
John Hancock
past,"
Congress,
one
on
their
had
Attention
"have
by
occupied
Washington
July 6th,
that could possibly
of the most
and important
interesting
Subjects
a
come before
of Men."
He
enclosed
them; or any other Assembly
"The

copy of the Dunlap broadside and asked that it be proclaimed at


the head of the army.50 On the day before Elbridge Gerry had
declared

that,

as soon

as New

York

supported

the measure,

48
to Wilson
Mar.
19, 1817, ibid.
Cary Nicholas,
Jefferson
49 The
was cut into eleven sections,
in sequence
numbered
manuscript
of Congress.
Smith Papers,
reassembled.
Library
J. Henley
60
to George Washington,
July 6, 1776, Burnett,
Letters,
John Hancock

by Smith

its title

and

II, 2.

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then

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^
3

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A?3

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T^\

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463

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464

JULIAN

P. BOYD

October

would be "THE UNANIMOUS


DECLARATION
UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA."51
THIRTEEN
ordered

Congress

that

ment,
when

that

its title

be

the Declaration
to the

changed

OF THE
On July 19

be fairly engrossed
form just quoted,

on

parch

and

that,
it "be signed by every member
of Congress."
On
engrossed,
2
noted
the Journal
that the engrossed
after being
copy,
August
was
com
at
the
the
members"?the
table,
signed
"compared
by
of
made
with
the
Both
broadside.
obviously
being
parison
Dunlap
these

resolutions
appeared
or public Journal.
corrected
of Independence
Declaration
from

its missing

prototype.

in the
Thus

Secret

Journal,
into existence

came

as the third
The

rather

in the

neither

the cherished

official

text, twice removed


crude vellum
used was

but there
is at least a
engrossed
by Timothy
Matlack,
that engrossing
have been contemplated.
possibility
by print may
was printed
A unique
of
copy on a superior
parchment
by
quality
a
after
sometime
19, being
John Dunlap
July
resetting
complete
no space
from fresh type.52 While
for
this
is a single
sheet with
probably

these could have been added on a second


sheet sewn to
signatures,
in the parchment
that containing
the text, as was done
scroll of the
of
Act
Confederation.
Since
the
document
bears
original
Dunlap's
for
it seems more
that
it was
executed
however,
imprint,
likely
some

other

purpose?possibly

because

Dunlap

himself

was

none

too

proud of the hastily produced broadside printed the night of July 4.


known

It is well
by

signed

all of

that
those

the engrossed
who voted

was not
copy of the Declaration
on July 4; that
for the measure

51

to James Warren,
Elbridge
Gerry
July 5, 1776, ibid., II, 1.
52 This
bears the same title as the Dunlap
broadside
and hence presumably
copy, which
was printed
been
before July
19, 1776, is in the American
having
Philosophical
Society,
to the Society
who had obtained
of
it from the daughter
by Dr. James Mease,
presented
in I. Minis Hays,
It is described
American
David
Rittenhouse.
Pro
Philosophical
Society,
the Lee copy,
the Dunlap
and the
(1900), 72-74. Along with
ceedings, XXXIX
broadside,
of the Declaration
in the Philadelphia
for July 6,
first newspaper
Post
publication
Evening
for publication
in 1976 in a separate
brochure
edited by
copy is scheduled
1776, this unique

Whitfield J. Bell, Jr.


in this connection
that John Dunlap
the first copies of both the
printed
of the United
of Independence
and the Constitution
and that a unique
States,
of each of these fundamental
is in the
documents
copy of the first state of the first printing
of the Historical
of Pennsylvania.
As to the latter, see J. H. Powell,
collections
The
Society

It may
Declaration

Books

be noted

of a New

Nation,

64.

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THE

1976
some

of
not

that

not
it were
on
so
August

who

those

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION
signed
signed did

all who

on

present
2.53

465
that

and

date;

of signing
of those who
and the names
signed were not
of public knowledge
until some months
later. On January
18,
two weeks
at
after Washington's
victories
encouraging
1777?just
it should be noted?Congress
and Princeton,
Trenton
ordered
that
an authenticated
with
the names of mem
copy of the Declaration,
The

fact

matters

bers who

had

they
then

and
it, "be sent to each of the United
States,
was
the same put upon record."
Congress
and thus the fourth official
text, derived

subscribed

be desired

to have

in Baltimore
sitting
the engrossed
parchment

from

came

copy,

into

in that

existence

city in the form of a broadside printed by Mary Katharine Goddard,


and
authenticated
duly
Hancock
and Thomson.
Journal,
printed
Declaration
had

also
been

attested
This

carried
signed on
It is worth

with

the

broadside,
the erroneous
the day

actual
like

of

signatures

the

subsequently
that
the

impression

of

"In Con
its adoption,
the resolutions
that, while

gress, July 4, 1776."54


noting
of Congress
of July 4 had directed
that the Declaration
"be pro
at
in each of the United
claimed
and
of
the
the
head
States,
army,"
18 requested
that of January
that these copies, with
of
the names
to
record." The
be "put upon
first aimed
affixed,
signers
gain the
assent

of

fourth

official

to put
the people,
the second
text as issued
from
the

Goddard

the distinction

thus has

the names

signers on
of Mary
press

the

record.

The

Katharine

of being the first to convey


those who had given
their

to the

of
people
pledge
to support
the Declaration.
It was not until after the second
conflict with Great
that
Britain
a powerful
wave
across
of patriotic
fervor
and
the
land
spread

American

brought
53 The

into existence
most

the fifth

and

final

text.

official

By

then

the

account

of the signing
is in Hazelton,
193-219. Thomas
Declaration,
disturbed
when both the printed Journal
1781. He was naturally
his name. When
issued early in 1777 omitted
and the Goddard
Pickering
Timothy
was Secretary
of State, Pickering
and he examined
the various
and the engrossed
journals
and Chamberlain
intent on other ques
text, but, like Vaughan
parchment
later, both were
text as reported
of the missing
tions and made no mention
and approved. Hazelton,
Declara
a letter from McKean
to A. J. Dallas,
Aug. 4, 1796.
tion, 285, quoting
54 A facsimile
at p. 284. It should be noted
is in Hazelton,
of this broadside
Declaration,
that
signed

detailed

did not

McKean

sign until
broadside

in the Library
of Congress
the copies
and Thomson
by Hancock
authenticating

both

and

in the New

and attesting

York

their

Public

Library

text.

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are

P. BOYD

October

about
scroll, which had traveled
destruction
had narrowly
escaped
for wear.
the worse
Printers

the country
during both
more
than once, was

466

JULIAN

parchment
wars
and
somewhat

to

so that

unrolled
the

of

appeal

exact

their

of State

as

such

engravers

and John Binns had caused it to be rolled

Benjamin Owen Tyler


and

and

facsimiles

of

the

add
signatures
might
to
visitors
the
Distinguished

engravings.
also asked
that

it be

to

shown

them. Some
of a nuisance
had made
of
citizens,
perhaps,
something
to the Secretary
was
of State,
who
Adams,
John Quincy
never one to suffer fools gladly. Thus
it was that in 1823 he author
an exact
on
to execute
ized William
J. Stone
facsimile,
engraved

Department
patriotic
themselves

on parchment.
and printed
This
laudable
copperplate
operation,
in spreading
it was
faithful
remarkably
replicas
throughout
to the original
led to still further
of
because
nation,
damage
so much

which
lifted
process
wet-press
employed,
it as to render parts of it almost
illegible. Two
were printed.
On May
ordered
26, 1824 Congress

customary
ink from
copies

be distributed

copies
tion?Thomas

of the surviving

Adams,
Jefferson,
John
that other
be
copies

Carrollton?and
former

to each

President

and

legislatures
and
universities

Madison,
of the

as
the
the

of the
hundred
two

that

of the Declara

and
sent

signers
Charles

Carroll

of

to President

the Marquis
de Lafayette,
states
and
and
territories,
in the United
States.

Monroe,
the governors
the different

colleges
of State
executed
this assignment
with
under
Secretary
to
In
and
letter
his
the
de
feeling.
standing
Lafayette,
Marquis
to the Declaration
as a "Proclama
of Independence
Adams
referred
to change
tion of Principles,
destined
the face of the world,
and . . .
to ameliorate
the condition
and exalt
the character
of the human
The

to his father,
The
letter of transmittal
to him
species."55
referring
as one of the subscribers
of a document
in
the
Annals
"unparalleled
a
of Mankind,"
ended with
close which must
have
complimentary
"With
touched
of veneration,
every sentiment
John Adams
deeply:
I have

the honour

55
John Quincy
Domestic
Letters,
56
John Quincy

Adams
National
Adams

of subscribing

to the Marquis
Archives.
to John Adams,

your

myself

de Lafayette,
June

24,

fellow

Oct.

1824, he.

16,

Citizen."56

1824, Record

The

Group

cit.

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59,

THE

1976

to Jefferson
touch.

letters

OF INDEPENDENCE

DECLARATION
and Carroll

followed

the

same

467
form

except

for

this final

Thus did John Quincy Adams play his role in helping to focus the
attention

of

the American

deserves

for all time upon


that text which
people
above all others.
In doing so, he had good
the inquiry sent him a few months
earlier

its preeminence
to avoid answering
of the Shenandoah
the editors

reason
by
which
from
copy

it and

all others

the archives
on parchment

The Papers

were

would
had

Herald

derived.
have

been

been

elevated

of Thomas Jefferson

about

the prototype
from
as
it
disclosed
missing
unthinkable
after
the signed

To

have

to its proper

niche

Julian

in history.
P. Boyd

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