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Rare Copy of the Declaration of Independence Found

07-04-2018

Researchers found a rare copy of America's Declaration of Independence in a British archive.

According to AFP news, a team lead by two Harvard University scholars discovered the manuscript at the West Sussex Record Office in the city of Chichester. The document was found among papers from an aristocrat who supported the freedom efforts of the American rebels.

The document "is the only other contemporary manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence on parchment apart from the signed copy at the National Archives in Washington DC," a council statement said earlier this week.

Tests reveal that the copy was made in the 1780s, just years after the original Declaration of Independence was written.

Found just to the right of the document's title was a date that appeared to be erased. Tests on the parchment revealed a date, either "July 4, 178" or "July 4, 179." The fourth digit for the year could have been permanently erased.
 
According to the Harvard Gazette, the document was written by an inexperienced clerk who most likely erased the date after he made an error transcribing it.
 
"Analysis revealed that the erased date was written along a slight downward slant, indicating the clerk made two errors in the calligraphy for the date, one with regard to the date itself, using the year of its production rather than the year in which the declaration was enacted, and the other in failing to maintain a horizontal line," the article said.

Researchers say they will write a detailed paper about the rare finding in the near future.

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