Lot 4: Act Of The Second Congress Relating To Trade with Indians Issued by George Washington Signed By Thomas Jefferson
15th November 2018
In 1787, Washington was developing the first official method of how the government would deal with the first inhabitants of the country. Recognizing that the constitution granted the President the power to sign treaties, Congress officially approved this method of Native American relations. Washington was a firm believer in Native American sovereignty, and felt they should have their own land which they could govern autonomously. However, this belief was tempered by his thinking that Native Americans would need to assimilate into American culture due to the movement of early settlers westward. The Act reads in part: In Part: no person shall be permitted to carry on trade or intercourse with the Indian tribes; as the President of the United States shall authorize to grant licenses for that purpose; And be it further enacted that every person, who shall attempt to trade with the Indian tribes, or shall be found in the Indian country, with such merchandize in his possession, as are usually vended to the Indians, without lawful license, shall forfeit all the merchandize, offered for sale to the Indians, or found in his possession, in the Indian Country, and shall moreover, be liable to a fine exceeding one hundred dollars, and to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, at the discretion of the court, in which the trial shall be.. The act does show protection for the Indians as well. ;And be it further enacted, that if any citizen or inhabitant of the United States, or of either of the territorial districts of the United States, shall go to own, settlement, or territory belonging to any nation or tribe of the Indians, and shall there commit murder, robbery, larceny, trespass or crime, against the person or property of any friendly Indian or Indians, which if committed within the jurisdiction of any state, or within the jurisdiction of either of the said districts, such offender shall be subject to the same punishment, as if the offense had been committed within the state or district, to which he or she may belong, against a citizen thereof; The Act also throws out the offer of aid,; And be it further enacted, that in order to promote civilization among the friendly Indian tribes, and to se cure the continuance of their friendship, it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States, to cause them to be furnished with useful domestic animals, and implements of husbandry, and also to furnish them with goods or money, in such proportions as he shall judge proper. ; One of the most important relationships with the Native Americans for the new America was trade. Congress, starting with the passing of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, drafted and passed numerous pieces of legislation aimed at regulating the practice of trading with Native Americans. One of the key figures in this movement to better cohabitate with the Native population was Thomas Jefferson, a man already integral to the foundations of the United States of America. Before becoming the third President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson served honorably as the first Secretary of State. During his time in the cabinet of President Washington, Jefferson held several ideological battles with Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, who he saw as trying to "undermine the government." Jefferson, a master statesman, was most concerned with increasing foreign trade and eliminating the national debt during his tenure as Secretary of State. Both Jefferson, who would later complete the Louisiana Purchase, and Washington were convinced of the need to shift the country west. This would not be possible without the assistance of the Native American tribes, making regulated trade and peace treaties with the Natives a crucial building block in American domestic policy. This document is an act "to regulate Trade and Intercourse with the Indian Tribes". It was drafted by the Second Congress of the United States, which convened on November 5th, 1792. This act was approved by President Washington on March 1st, 1793, and slated to be law for the next two years, until the next meeting of Congress. The document has been printed on two sheets of paper, with one double-sided. It features the printed names of Jonathan Trumbull, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Vice-President John Adams, and President George Washington. At the bottom of the final page, "Deposited among the Rolls in the office of the Secretary of State" is printed. Incredible Bold ink signature of Jefferson which presents nearly immaculately after 220 odd years. Documents like this with Native American content from Washington are of the utmost rarity and highly desired. Jefferson signed 2 copies of each Act of Congress for distribution to the executive of every state. Kentucky had ratified the Constitution and become the 15th state in June of 1792. Thus, 30 copies were signed by Jefferson in total. Few of any of the Jefferson signed Acts survive, especially related to the American Indians! To place a bid go to www.oneofakindauctions.com
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