Bad News

On or around 10 August 1776, the Declaration of Independence reached England and was published in British newspapers. And you can imagine how popular that was. Lord North’s ministry, which was then in power, wouldn’t dignify it with an official response, though they did secretly commission a pamphleteer named John Lind to draft a rebuttal, entitled Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress. Lind’s work essentially boiled down to: who the hell do you people think you are? British Tories had no problem voicing their objections and pointing out the hypocrisy of the document for espousing the principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” when clearly those words only applied to white men. Lind’s pamphlet made much the same argument, also attacking the “all men are created equal” part, which was, of course, written by a slaveowner.

None of this mattered, of course. As we all know, the war went on for another few years and America finally wrenched its freedom from Britain, officially. And Britain accepted it, after a while and was even nice enough to keep the paperwork: in 2009, the 26th (and last known remaining) of the original 200 broadsides of the Declaration printed in Philadelphia in July 1776 was found in England’s national archives.



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