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One of the Earliest Printings of the Declaration of Independence

The first book printing of the Declaration of Independence, bound with five other significant pamphlets of the American Revolution, including a rare very early edition of Common Sense. The Declaration was printed immediately following The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution… By Demophilus. The scarce terminal ad leaf dates the Declaration printing to July 8, 1776, supported by The Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 9th and the Pennsylvania Gazette of July 10th, both carrying advertisements that Genuine Principles, was “just printed, published and now selling by Robert Bell.”) 

 From the library of Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, grandson of the famous enlightenment philosopher, and son of a founder of Freemasonry in France (along with Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin). Charles-Louis corresponded with Franklin, and served as aide-de-camp to the Comte de Rochambeau and the Marquis de Chastellux. After fighting at Yorktown, he was among the delegation sent to inform the King of France of the victory.  


The Declaration was first printed by John Dunlap, the official printer to the Continental Congress, as a broadside on the evening of July 4 into the morning of July 5, 1776. The text next appeared in the July 6 issue of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, and two days later in Dunlap’s own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Packet, or General Advertiser.  Genuine Principles was already on the press when Dunlap’s broadside appeared. Bell quickly added a new gathering to accommodate the Declaration, and a stirring introduction: "The events which have given birth to this mighty revolution; and will vindicate the provisions that shall be wisely made against our ever again relapsing into a state of bondage and misery, cannot be better set forth than in the following Declaration of American Independence."

The first pamphlet in this sammelband is Robert Bell’s “complete” edition of Common Sense, made up from very rare pamphlets sold independently, adding the pirated text that Paine gave to another printer after Bell claimed he was losing money selling an imprint that was as hot a ticket as HAMILTON.

This rare item has been sold. 

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