Forgotten document linked to fight for U S independence.

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Comment by Less Prone on January 3, 2014 at 10:38am

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January 3, 2014

Forgotten document linked to fight for U.S. independence

James Barron

FOUNDING FATHERS: John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the fiveman drafting committee. Photo: U.S. Capitol via Wikimedia Commons
FOUNDING FATHERS: John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the fiveman drafting committee. Photo: U.S. Capitol via Wikimedia Commons

It was lying in a drawer in the attic, a 12-page document that was not just forgotten but misfiled. Somehow it had made its way into a folder with colonial-era doctor’s bill.

Luckily, no one did. For when Emilie Gruchow opened the folder last summer and separated it from the doctor’s bills, she recognised it as a one-of-a-kind document.

Ms. Gruchow, an archivist at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, was an intern at the museum in Upper Manhattan when she made her discovery. The mansion served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War. She realised the document was the draft of an urgent plea for reconciliation from the Continental Congress. It was addressed to the people of Britain, not King George III and his government, and began by mentioning “the tender ties which bind us to each other” and “the glorious achievements of our common ancestors”.

That was followed by a long list of complaints about the infringement of colonists’ rights, the restrictions on trade and the “rigorous acts of oppression which are daily exercised in the Town of Boston”. “That once populous, flourishing, commercial Town is now Garrisoned by an army sent not to protect, but to enslave its inhabitants,” the document said. Till now, only the final, printed version from July 1775 had been known to exist.

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