'' . . . you have seen the original paper with the corrections of Dr. Franklin and John Adams interlined in their own handwritings, and their alterations were two or three only, and merely verbal.''Skip to next paragraph
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To James Madison, Jefferson went on, ''I turned to neither book nor pamphlet while writing it.'' (He was thirty-three) ''and soon seized on my heart,'' said John Adams. Quiet in Congress, writings of his were handed about. Long afterward he remembered, ''I wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee and, unaltered, to Congress,'' and in reply to Adams said, ''I did not consider to invent new ideas.''
To Richard Henry Lee he had written, ''I enclose a copy of the Declaration as agreed to by the House, also as originally framed, you judge whether it is the better or worse for critics.''
(And John Adams wrote to Chase, '' . . . the river is past, the bridge cut away - and yesterday the Declaration was proclaimed and published - the Bells rung all day!'')
''I have sometimes asked myself,'' Jefferson as an old man wrote, ''whether my country is the better for my having lived.'' He signed, when his turn came, the Declaration; and what his thoughts were he does not describe, although in his heart were the words, ''this ball of liberty will roll around the globe!''