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Declaration of Independence.

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A facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, in an ornamental oval frame with medallions of seals of the thirteen original colonies, and medallion portraits of John Hancock, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. Above is an eagle with shield, olive branch, and arrows, holding a streamer reading "E Pluribus Unum."

An incomplete state of the print was deposited for copyright by John Binns on November 4, 1818. It was accompanied by a prospectus card which describes the print thus:

"A Splendid Edition of the Declaration of Independence.

The Design in imitation of Bas Relief, will encircle the Declaration as a cordon of honor, surmounted by the Arms of the United States. Immediately underneath the arms, will be a large medallion portrait of General George Washington, supported by cornucopiae, and embellished with spears, flags, and other Military trophies and emblems. On the one side of this medallion portrait, will be a similar portrait of John Hancock,...and on the other, a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence.

"The arms of 'The Thirteen United States' in medallion, united by wreaths of olive leaves, will form the remainder of the cordon, which will be further enriched by some of the characteristic productions of the United States; such as the Tobacco and Indigo plants, the Cotton Shrub, Rice &c. The fac similes [sic] will be engraved by Mr. Vallance, who will execute the important part of the publication at the City of Washington, where, by permission of the Secretary of State, he will have the original signatures constantly under his eye."

At the bottom of the print appears an endorsement by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams which reads, "Department of State, 19th, April 1819. I certify, that this is a Correct copy of the original Declaration of Independence, deposited at this Department; and that I have compared all the signatures of the original, and found them Exact Imitations."

The "Port Folio" magazine (Philadelphia) for January 1819 reports, "We have at length been gratified with the sight of a proof-sheet of the splendid copy of the 'declaration of Independence;' and we declare that it deserves the most liberal support . . . ." The writer goes on to mention that Binns's print prompted a rash of inferior imitations.

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Current Print >> 15 of 16:  1819

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