(Hat Tip to Right Thinking Girl)
From Joseph Ellis’ book on Thomas Jefferson: American Sphinx.
Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in a matter of a few days — Adams later remembered it took him only “a day or two” — and then showed the draft to Adams and Franklin, later recalling that “they were the two members of whose judgments and amendments I wished most to have the benefit.” They suggested a few minor revisions (i.e., replacing “sacred & undeniable truths” with “self-evident truths”); then the committee placed the document before the Continental Congress on June 28. After Lee’s resoltuion was debated and passed (July 1 – 2), the Congress took up the wording of the Declaration; it made several major changes and excised about one-quarter of the text. During the debate Jefferson sat silently and sullenly, regarding each proposed revision as another defacement. Franklin sat next to him and tried to soothe his obvious pain with the story of a sign painter commissioned by a hatter, who kept requesting more concise language for his sign until nothing was left on the sign but a picture of a hat. On July 4 the Congress approved its revised version and the Declaration of Independence was sent to the printer for publication.