Today on CNN.com, a fascinating bit of history came to light in the form of a hyperspectral imaging discovery on a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. For those who thought hyperspectral imaging had something to do with ADHD ghosts, let me explain: basically you take really old documents and pass them under the visible and non-visible light spectrum. This allows you to see a whole lot more than what your eyes normally detect.
The story is really interesting and I suggest you read it in full. However, it also brought to mind an old document, discovered about 42 years ago, that some historians hailed as paradigm-shifting for the national historical record. The majority of U.S. historians rejected the document out of hand, but there are still a vocal few who maintain its veracity. I’ll let you decide.
Herewith is a transcript version of “The Minutes of the Continental Congress, Assembled Together on this Daye, 4 July, 1776”, discovered by Drs. Gullay and Boll, Atherton University, Department of History.
Franklin: I say, Jefferson, have you finished the first draft yet?
Jefferson: No, Benjamin, I have not. The muse has been a bit slow today.
Adams: Friggin’ dial-up. I told those cheap sons-o-guns we needed to hold this meeting somewhere with a hi-speed WiFi connection. But would they listen? Noooooo…
Franklin: For the love of the Almighty, Adams, put that damned iPhone away. We’re not impressed.
Adams: Really, Ben? Judging by the way Hancock has been staring at it, I would say you’re wrong, dude.
Jefferson: May we return our attention to the matter at hand? The first draft?
Franklin: Yes, yes – quite right. What exactly are you struggling with Thomas? Gerunds? Subject-Verb agreement?
Jefferson: Actually, my good sir, it has more to do with the phrasing of the entire preamble. I’m afraid it is far too informal for the King or his court. Should they receive something worded such as this, they would laugh at us rather than consider the seriousness of our intentions.
Adams: I’m reading over it right now, and I don’ t see what the problem is. Don’t you think you’re being a wee bit negative, Tommy?
Jefferson: Honestly, no. Verily, James, does this sound right to you? “When in the course of doin’ bidness with tyrants and other fools, it becomes necessary to break one off in the butt of your oppressor, you best be knowin’ that we the peeps of the United States of Kick-Your-Ass will establish our God-given right to beat you down and step up as the world’s first superpowered pimpalicious nation.”
Adams: Sounds crackalackin’ to me, yo.
Franklin: I thought we’d decided on “we the homies”?
Jefferson: We had, but Lyman Hall wanted something in there that reflected Atlanta and the Dirty-Dirty.
Hall: Yeah! Okay!
Adams: Shut up, Hall. You’re making a fool of yourself.
Franklin: So no homies?
Jefferson: No. Honestly, I’m not sure of the entire preamble. The body seems to be well enough, but…
Adams: I suppose you want something all stuffy and philosophical?
Franklin: Dear me, Thomas, we don’t want to sound pretentious.
Jefferson: No, but we ought at least consider that we sound ridiculous at present.
Adams: You know, T-dizzle, you’re getting on my last night nerve. I might have to pop a cap in ya.
Jefferson: Gee, James, what a threat. It’ll take you at least fifteen minutes to load your musket.
Adams: That’s it! Where’s my gat at?
Franklin: Well, now that he’s left, we might get something done. Do you have a suggestion for improvement, Thomas?
Jefferson: I think something like, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” What do you think, Ben?
Franklin: It definitely has a more regal feel to it. And it’s catchy.
Jefferson: I thought so too. We could even re-mix it if necessary, add in a bass line and some snare. That’d give us the best of both worlds.
Franklin: By George, I think you’ve got it! Let’s make the changes before Adams gets back. Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with him and his posse frontin’ for the gallery.
Jefferson: Maybe we can make him happy by changing the ending. What do you think about: “Eat it, Georgie-Porgie!”?
Franklin: Sounds kickin’. Let’s roll.