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Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

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Inscribed Volume from the Library of William Ellery, Declaration Signer and Abolitionist

WILLIAM ELLERY, Signed Book. “The Christian Disciple,” Vol. II (index at front, 12 issues bound together). Boston, 1814. 8½ x 5 1/8”. Inscribed to George Ellery on title page. Contemporary calf-backed marbled paper boards. (Worn, rear cover and last leaf detached. Housed in modern custom leather and cloth case.)

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Twelve issues of a non-denominational Christian monthly, featuring edifying essays such as “On the Evils of War,” “On the sinfulness of Infants,” a “Sketch of Mr. William Penn,” a long essay on “The Slave Trade” (in nos. 10 and 12), original poetry (including “Ode to Sickness”), news of overseas congregations, and extracts from missionaries’ letters.

Item #21868, $2,600

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for  independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST
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