University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
collapse sectionD. 
2111. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copies of.—[continued].
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

2111. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copies of.—[continued].

I am not able to give
you any particular account of the paper
handed you by Mr. Lee, as being either the
original or a copy of the Declaration of Independence,
sent by myself to his grandfather.
The draft, when completed by myself,
with a few verbal amendments by Dr. Franklin
and Mr. Adams, two members of the
Committee, in their own handwriting, is now
in my possession, and a fair copy of this was
reported to the Committee, passed by them
without amendment, and then reported to
Congress. This latter should be among the
records of the old Congress; and whether
this or the one from which it was copied
and now in my hands, is to be called the original,
is a question of definition. To that in my
hands, if worth preserving, my relations with
our University [of Virginia] give irresistible
claims. Whenever, in the course of the composition,
a copy became overcharged, and difficult
to be read with amendments, I copied
it fair, and when that also was crowded with
other amendments, another fair copy was
made, &c. These rough drafts I sent to distant
friends who were anxious to know what
was passing. But how many and to whom I
do not recollect. One sent to Mazzei was
given by him to the Countess de Tesse (aunt
of Madame de Lafayette) as the original and
is probably now in the hands of her family.
Whether the paper sent to R. H. Lee was
one of these, or whether, after the passage
of the instrument. I made a copy for him,
with the amendments of Congress, may, I
think, be known from the face of the paper.—
To John Vaughan. Washington ed. vii, 409. Ford ed., x, 345.
(M. 1825)