[....] The discovery was made by Harvard University researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen, according to a university news release published Friday. The pair located the rare document in a records office in Chichester, a city near England’s southern coast [.....]
They have concluded that the “Sussex Declaration” likely dates to the 1780s, was made in New York or Philadelphia and belonged to the Duke of Richmond — also known as the “Radical Duke” for his support of the American Revolution.
What sets the Sussex copy apart from the National Archives copy is that the signatures are not grouped by state and that it is in relatively good condition. The original parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives is, alas, severely faded to the point that it’s nearly illegible. It also may have even defaced [....]
[....] They hypothesize that James Wilson, a Federalist Founding Father who argued for a strong central government, commissioned the parchment copy sometime in the 1780s, when the United States was still a fragile young nation. The scrambled signatures at the bottom of the Sussex Declaration would have supported Wilson’s argument that the country’s authority rested on the people rather than on the authority of 13 states [....]