It never crossed most people’s minds that the second copy of Declaration of Independence could be discovered anytime soon and more surprisingly in England, of all places. Well, it turns out that a second parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence has been found.
The discovery remains remarkable due to the fact that the only other parchment manuscript copy of the historic document is housed behind glass at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Most copies of the Declaration of Independence are just replicas. They are duplicates of the one housed in the National Archives which is famously known as the Matlack Declaration, it is regarded as the official document.
The original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights July 4, 2001 are housed at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. where an honor guard stands next to the imperative documents.
The remarkable discovery was unearthed by two researchers based at Harvard University. Danielle Allen and Emily Sneff found the parchment manuscript in a records office in Sussex County, England. As a result, they're calling it The Sussex Declaration.
Danielle Allen made a statement saying that up until now, only one large-format ceremonial parchment manuscript was known to exist, referring to the one is in the National Archives which was produced in 1776. However, the parchment that Allen discovered was produced a decade later, with the signed parchment as its source.
The two versions measure 24 by 30 inches. However, unlike the official one the Sussex copy is oriented horizontally which marks a key difference. Allen pointed out that the documents state illuminates the politics of the 1780s in a flash.
Allen was referring to the list of signatories in The Sussex Declaration, which is not grouped by states. It supports the notion that the Declaration's authority rested on one united people, not a collection of states. The two copies are printed on parchment paper, unlike other versions.
Allen also said that the parchment manuscript illuminates in one stroke how the Federalists and anti-Federalists debated the question of whether the new republic was founded on the authority of a single, united sovereign people or on the authority of 13 separate state governments.
Unlike the official Declaration where John Hancock's signature is more prominent, in the Sussex copy all the signatures are the same size.
The two researchers Allen and Sneff presented their findings last week at Yale University, they said that nationalist James Wilson was the likely commissioner of the parchment on behalf of the federal Constitution.
The two researchers determined that the parchment was definitely written in the US, mostly likely in New York or Philadelphia. It is believed that the Third Duke of Richmond who was known for his support of Americans during the Revolution could have originally owned the document. However, its not yet clear how the document found its way in England.