1796 Indian trade act

 

An Act for Establishing Trading Houses with the Indian Tribes.

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, to establish trading houses at such posts and places on the western and southern frontiers, or in the Indian country, as he shall judge most convenient for the purpose of carrying on a liberal trade with the several Indian nations, within the limits of the United States.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the President be authorized to appoint for each trading house established, whose duty it shall be to receive, and dispose of, in trade, with the Indian nations afore-mentioned, such goods as he shall be directed by the President of the United States to receive and dispose of, as aforesaid, according to the rules and orders which the President shall prescribe; and every such agent shall take an oath or affirmation, faithfully to execute the trust committed to him; and that he will not, directly or indirectly, be concerned or interested in any trade, commerce or barter, with any Indian or Indians whatever, but on the public account; and shall also give bond, with sufficient security, in such sum as the President of the United States shall direct, truly and honestly to account for all the money, goods and other property whatever, which shall come into his hands, or for which, in good faith, he ought so to account, and to perform all the duties required of him by this act: And his accounts shall be made up half yearly, and transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the agents, their clerks, or the other persons employed by them, shall not be, directly or indirectly, concerned or interested in carrying on the business of trade or commerce, on their own, or any other than the public account, or take, or apply to his or their own use, any emolument or gain for negotiating or transacting any business or trade, during their agency or employment, other than is provided by this act. And if any such person shall offend against any of the prohibitions aforesaid, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall, upon conviction thereof, forfeit to the United States, a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, and shall be removed from such agency or employment, and forever thereafter be incapable of holding any office under the United States: Provided, That if any other person, than a public prosecutor, shall give information of any such offence, upon which a prosecution and conviction shall be had, one half the aforesaid penalty, when received, shall be for the use of the person giving such information.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the prices of the goods supplied to, and to be paid for by the Indians, shall be regulated in such manner, that the capital stock furnished by the United States may not be diminished.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That during the continuance of this act, the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to draw annually from the treasury of the United States, a sum not exceeding eight thousand dollars, to be applied, under his direction, for the purpose of paying the agents and clerks; which agents shall be allowed to draw out of the public supplies, two rations each, and each clerk one ration per day.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, exclusive of the allowances to agents and clerks, be and they are hereby appropriated for the purpose of carrying on trade and intercourse with the Indian nations, in the manner aforementioned, to be paid out of any monies unappropriated in the treasury of the United States.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That if any agent or agents, their clerks, or other persons employed by them, shall purchase, or receive of any Indian, in the way of trade or barter, a gun or other article commonly used in hunting; any instrument of husbandry, or cooking utensil, of the kind usually obtained by Indians in their intercourse with white people; any article of clothing (excepting skins or furs) he or they shall, respectively, forfeit the sum of one hundred dollars for each offense, to be recovered by action of debt, in the name, and to the use of the United States, in any court of law of the United States, or of any particular state having jurisdiction in like cases, or in the supreme or superior courts of the territories of the United States: Provided, that no suit shall be commenced except in the state or territory within which the cause of Action shall have arisen, or the defendant may reside: And it shall be the duty of the superintendents of Indian affairs and their deputy respectively, to whom information of every such offence shall be given, to collect the requisite evidence, if attainable, and to prosecute the offender, without delay.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force for the term of two years, and to the end of the next session of Congress thereafter, and no longer.

APPROVED, April 18, 1796.
Source:
United States Statutes at Large

Yale Avalon Project at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm August 27, 2005

 

Connecticut Consortium for Law & Citizenship Education, Inc. CCLCE.org Resource CD, 2005