Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Rare parchment manuscript of US Declaration of Independence found in England


Alan Yuhas writes: 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.
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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:

. .  Somehow the manuscript landed in Britain, possibly in the possession of the dukes of Richmond. Sneff said she is hoping to gain access to the papers of the dukes to trace the declaration’s history, possibly as far back as Charles Lennox, a contemporary of George III who was called “the radical duke” because he supported American colonists in their rebellion against the king and parliament.

“It would be nice to associate this document with the radical duke,” Sneff said.


It is, I imagine, worth a lot of money so there will now be an interesting, perhaps fierce, tussle to decide to whom it belongs.

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