Arms (on the seal of the United States), an eagle displayed, in the dexter claw an olive branch, and in the sinister a sheaf of three arrows, the points upwards, all proper, from the beak a scroll, or ribbon, thereon "E pluribus unum" : above the head, encircled by clouds, also proper, the azure sky and glory, with as many mullets, or stars, of six- points argent as there are States : on the body of the eagle a shield paly of thirteen (in allusion to the thirteen first United States) argent and gules, a chief azure.
[The stars and stripes were suggested by the arms of George Washington. The arms as above quoted exist by original legislative enactment, and the glory originally consisted of thirteen stars. Though additional States have from time to time been admitted to the Union there has been no further legislative action, and consequently there is no real authority for any increase in the number of stars. The stars, however, are now more usually omitted from about the head of the Eagle, and represented to the number of over forty on the chief, which is absurd. According to the latest bulletin there are now forty-eight in six rows each of eight stars.]
Source : the book of public arms, by A.C Fox-Davies, 1915.
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