[Philadelphia: Printed by John Dunlap, 1776] Imprint supplied by EVANS, however this title is the revised oath of allegiance adopted Feb. 3, 1778. Broadside. 21 x 16 1/2 cm. Single sheet with two copies of the oath printed on the sheet, uncut and unused. The upper has small loss of type, affecting a letter or two, but not the sense of the text, with paper repair; some faint old staining. Although the 1776 oath appears in the Journals of Congress, the 1778 oath is apparently the only edition to be separately printed. "Form of renunciation of allegiance to Great Britain, which all civil and military officers were required to sign." - ESTC. EVANS 15183. ESTC: Huntington, Hist. Society of PA, NYPL, Lib. of Congress. Item #63920
The text of the original oath was recorded in the Journals of the Continental Congress in October 1776 [see vol. 6, pp.893-4], listing all thirteen states and including the phrase "and I do swear." The revised version, printed here, appears in the Journals on Feb. 3, 1778. According to Nellie Waldenmaier in her book "Some of the Earliest Oaths of Allegiance to the United States," [Genealogical Pub. Co.: 2009, p.6: "The report of this committee [consisting of Daniel Roberdeau, Abraham Clark and William Ellery, which produced the newly worded version] also recommended that this oath be signed in duplicate and one copy be kept by the Deponent and the other copy, in the case of the Military Line, 'be sent to the commander in chief and by him to the Secretary of Congress...." The Continental Army was in winter camp at Valley Forge at this time, where General Washington's troops were struggling with shortages of pay, food, supplies, and shelter and morale was low. In a letter to Congress, dated May 1, 1778, Washington admits he delayed until May to implement the administering of the oath, "owing to the state of the Army [in February]...and that there were some strong reasons which made it expedient to defer the matter." [see: Writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799, vol. 11, pp.331-2 (GPO: 1934)].
John Dunlap (1747-1812), Philadelphia newspaper publisher and offical printer for Congress, was responsible for printing the first broadside copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Journals of the Continental Congress, and later the Constitution of the United States, among many other official documents.