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Publications for the Purposes of Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
The following manuscripts will be on display in the exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy from 13 March to 1 September 2015:
Jefferson’s Autograph Copy of the Declaration of Independence
The autograph copy of the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) is an ink on paper manuscript written by the American revolutionary and future American President, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Its four pages of text are written on two sheets measuring 320 x 200 mm and 319 x 201 mm. It was drafted early in July 1776 in the days immediately following the acceptance of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on 4 July 1776.
- type of object: manuscript
- description of the material: paper
- identity and nationality of creators: Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826); American
- the title: Thomas Jefferson’s autograph copy of the United States Declaration of Independence (1776)
- dimensions: 320 x 200 mm and 319 x 201 mm
- date: 28 September 1789
The manuscript has been folded in four in the past and has some staining in the margins and along the folds. The manuscript also contains passages underlined in ink which denote sections of the Declaration that had been deleted from the version adopted by the Continental Congress.
Written in Philadelphia.
Jefferson’s autograph copy of the Declaration of Independence has been in the possession of the New York Public Library since 1896 when it was acquired as part of the collection of Dr Thomas Addis Emmet (1828–1919).
United States Bill of Rights
The copy of the United States Bill of Rights ratified by the state of Delaware is a single-sheet parchment manuscript that was drafted in ink in New York in September 1789 and ratified with signatures in ink and a seal on 28 January 1790.
- type of object: manuscript
- description of the material: parchment
- identity and nationality of creators: First United States Congress, New York, USA and the General Assembly of Delaware, USA
- the title: United States Bill of Rights ratified by the state of Delaware
- dimensions: 940 x 864 mm
- date: September 1789 and 28 January 1790
The Bill of Rights ratified by Delaware is written on only one side of the parchment and has the seal of the ‘General Assembly of Delaware’ attached to the bottom-left corner along with the signatures of George Mitchell and John Davis on behalf of the Council and Assembly. The signatures of John Beckly (1757–1807), James Otis (1725–1783), Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg (1750–1801), and John Adams (1735–1826) are also prominent towards the bottom of the document, which was drafted in iron gall ink.
The manuscript was prepared by the Senate Engrossing Clerk, Benjamin Bankson, for the First United States Congress in New York and signed and sealed by representatives in Delaware.
This copy of the Bill of Rights was ratified by Delaware in January 1790 before being immediately returned to the federal government. This copy therefore became a Federal Government record and was kept in the custody of the State Department until 1938 when, together with the other State Department records, it was transferred to the United States National Archives.