DescriptionThomas Jefferson Printed Act of Congress Regulating "Trade and Intercourse with the Indian Tribes"Signed "Th: Jefferson." Three pages, 9.5" x 15", Philadelphia, November 5, 1792. Headed "Second Congress of the United States: At the Second Session, begun and held at the City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, on Monday, the fifth of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two." The act, entitled "An ACT to regulate Trade and Intercourse with the Indian Tribes," was approved on March 1, 1793, and is signed in print by President George Washington, Vice President John Adams, and Speaker of the House Jonathan Trumbull. Thomas Jefferson has signed page three as secretary of state.
In 1792, the second U.S. Congress met and passed the second of the six so-called Indian Trade and Non-Intercourse Acts (1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834), used to standardize trade with the Indians. This particular act contains fifteen sections and stipulates that "no person shall be permitted to carry on any trade or intercourse with the Indian tribes, without a licence [sic] under the hand and seal of the superintendent of the department, or of such other person, as the President of the United States shall authorize to grant licences for that purpose" and should such a person be "found in the Indian country, with such merchandize [sic] in his possession, as are usually vended to the Indians, without lawful licence, shall forfeit all the merchandize" and will be fined up to 100 dollars. Further, should any citizen enter any area "belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians, and shall there commit murder, robbery, larceny, trespass or other such crime . . . against any friendly Indian or Indians . . . such offender shall be subject to the same punishment, as if the offence [sic] had been committed within the state or district, to which he or she may belong." In addition, "no agent . . . or other person authorized to grant a licence to trade . . . shall have any interest or concern in any trade with the Indians".
Section eight, prohibiting the transfer of Indian lands without federal consent, was first proposed in this act and states: "no purchase or grant of lands . . . from any Indians or nation or tribe of Indians, within the bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity, in law or equity, unless the same be made by a treaty or convention entered into pursuant to the constitution." These laws were only in effect for four years. It was subsequently reenacted until the final act of 1834 and has remained law since.
For accuracy we note some very minor imperfections, although the overall condition is quite pleasing. Unevenly toned with scattered spots of foxing. Separation of the folds at the edges; edges are chipped in places. Light water staining at the upper edge of page three and the left edge of pages one and three. This is a very important document, which, according to our research, is the first of its kind to be offered at auction.
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