Page images

petition, and thus with the good-will of the Indian rid ourselves of a description of men who are constantly endeavoring to excite in the Indian mind suspicion, fears, and irritation towards us.

By act of April 21, 1806, the office of superintendent of Iudian trade was created. 1

The following list of trading houses, which had been established under the act of 1796, is taken from a letter addressed to the Hon. Joseph Anderson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, by John Mason, superintendent of Indian trade, dated from Indian trade office" at Georgetown, D. C., April 12, 1810:2

At Coleraine, on the river St. Mary's, Georgia, established in 1795. Removed to Fort Wilkinson, on the Oconee, in 1797, and to Fort Hawkins, on the Oakmnlgee, in 1806.

Al Tellico block house, Southwestern Territory, established in 1795. Removed to the Hiwasee of the Tennessee in 1807.

At Fort St. Stephens, on the Mobile, Mississippi Territory, established in 1802.
At Chicasaw Bluffs, on the Mississippi, Mississippi Territory, established in 1802.
At Fort Wayne, on the Miami of the Lakes, Iudiana Territory, established in 1802
At Detroit, Michigan Territory, established 1802 (discontinned in 1805).
At Arkansas, on the river Arkansas, Louisiana Territory, established in 1805.
At Nachitoches, on the Red River, Orleans Territory, established in 1805.

At Belle Fontaine, mouth of the Missouri, Louisiana Territory, established in 1805 (discontinued in 1808).

Al Chicago, on Lake Michigan, Indiana Territory, established in the year 1805. At Sandusky, Lake Erie, Ohio, established in 1806.

At the Island of Michilimackinac, Lake Huron, Michigan Territory, established in 1808.

At Fort Osage, on the Missouri, Louisiana Territory, established in 1808. at Fort Madison, on the Upper Mississippi, Louisiana Territory, established in 1808.

After varied experiences the trading houses were abolished by act of May 6, 1822, the Government sustaining loss in closing up these fac. tories,” 4 and Indian trade was finally left to the enterprise of individuals and companies.

The traders not only influenced the relations between different : tribes, but the attitude of the tribes towards the colonies, and later

towards the Government itself. During the period of the Revolution the British trader rallied the Indians under his control to the cause of the King; as in the same manner at an earlier date the French trader had turned certain tribes against the English. To offset this power, in the first treaty made under the Colonial Congress with the Six Nations, at Albany, August 25, 1775, provision was made for trade to be resumed at Albany and Schenectady; Congress to "exert their strenuous endeavors to procure the goods the Indians may want and put the trade under such wise regulations as that mutual justice may be effected." The treaty with the Delaware Nation, in 1778, provided for an “agent to

United States Statutes, Vol. II, p. 402. 2 American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 768. 3 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. III, p. 682. 4 American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. II, p. 513. : American Archives, 4th series, Vol. III, col. 1831. * Ibid, Vol. III, col. 1924.

[ocr errors]


trade" with the tribe. The treaty made with the Chippewa, Wyan. dotte, Delaware, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, and Sac Indians, in 1789, stipulated that these Indians should sell their peltries to the United States only, and that any foreigners attempting to trade should be de. livered up.

For more than a century the Indian traders have kept alive on this continent the rivalry of foreign nations, playing Indian against Indian, and Indian against white men. This is wittiessed in the border disputes both prior to 1812 and during that war, also in the later controversies over the Canadian boundary line and on the North Pacific Coast. In all of these troubles Indian tribes have become involved in wars with us and with each other upon issues foreign to the Indians themselves. The trading posts of the Hudson Bay Company and of the various American trading companies were all more or less military in character, and the officials held almost despotic sway over the Indians within reach. Many agencies to-day stand upon the sites of these former trading posts.

The treaties with the various tribes bear ample testimony to the grasp of the trader upon the Indians. A large proportion of the money from the sales of land passed directly to the traders for "debts," and these debts in several instances were the causes of cessions of land.3 Nor is the grasp of the trader loosened to-day, except where reservations are surrounded by settlements, and the Indians have become sufficiently educated to be able to transact their own business in the towns of white men.

In a message to Congress dated January 28, 1802, the President. (Thomas Jefferson) states: “These people (the Indians) are becoming very sensible of the baneful effects produced on their morals, their health, and existence by the abuse of ardent spirits; and some of them earnestly desire a prohibition of that article from being carried among them. The Legislature will consider whether the effectuating that de. sire would not be in the spirit of benevolence and liberality.94 The act of March 30, 1802, contained the first provision against the sale of intoxicating liquors to Indians: “That the President of the United States be authorized to take such measures from time to time as to him may appear expedient to prevent or restrain the vending or distributing of spirituous liquors among all or any of the said Indian tribes, anything herein contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding."

By the act of February 13, 1862, it was made a crime, punishable by fine and imprisonment, to sell liquor to Indians under the care of a superintendent or agent, whether on or off their reservations; and the constitutionality of this law was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1865. On the revision of the laws in 1873–74 this law was changed so that its



1 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VII, p. 13. ? I bid., p. 28. 3 See synopsis of treaties. 4 American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 653. 6 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. II, p. 146. " Regulations of Indian Department 1884, sec. 491, p. 85.

penalties could only apply to persons found guilty of selling liquors to Indians on their reservatious; but an act approved February 27, 1877 (United States Statutes, Vol. XLX, P. 24-1), restores the provisions of the law of 1862 by striking out of section 2139 the words "except to an Indian in the Indian country," so that persons who now engage in the liquor traffic with Indians, no matter in what locality, or who give it to them, are liable to a penalty of $300 and two years' imprisonment: The law (act July 4, 1881) also provides that no part of sections 2139 and 2140, Revised Statutes shall be a bar to the prosecution of any officer, soldier, sutler or store keeper, attaché or employé of the Army of the United States, who shall barter, clonate, or furnish, in any man. ner whatsoever, liquors, wines, beer, or any intoxicating bererage whatsoever to any Indian. When persons are detected in a violation of the law their cases to be placed in the hands of the district attorney for the district wherein the crime was committed, in order that they may be promptly arrested, tries, and punished; and agents will co-operate with that officer in his efforts to convict the guilty parties, furnishing him with the requisite evidence and all the facts that they may be able to obtain for the purpose indicated Indians are competent witnesses in these cases. (See section 2140, Revised Statutes; section 236, Instructions, 1880.)

Licensed traders inust see to it that no intoxicating liquor is, under any pretense, allowed on or about their premises, and a violation of this rule, or a failure to use their utmost efforts to suppress the trattic, or to notify the Indian Office in regard to it, will subject them to have their licenses revoked and themselves removed from the reservations. In short, a failure to heartily co-operate with the Indian Office in preventing any one from furnishing liquor in any shape or under any pretext to the Indians will certainly result in the removal of the agent and the revocation of the license of the trader. (See section 491, cirenlar 67, Indian Office.)

By the act of May 6, 1822,' traders to the remote tribes beyond the Mississippi were to be licensed for a term not exceeding seven years; other traders for two years.

The year 1834 markel an epoch in the administration of Indian affairs. On the same day (June 30, 1831) that the organic act was passed creating the Indian Department there was also passed the "act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indiau tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontier."2 The majority of the provisions of this act are in force to the present day.

The following rules are taken from the “Regulations of the Indian Department," published in 1884:

(544.) The Commissioner of Indian Affairs has the sole power and anthority to appoint traders to the Indian tribes, and to make such rules and regulations as he may deem just and proper, specifying tho kind and quantity of goods and the prices at which such goods shall be sold to the Indians. (Act of August 15, 1876, sec. 5, 19 Statutes, 200.)

United States Statutes at Large, Vol. III, p. 682. 2 Ibill., Vol. IV, p. 229.

(545.) No person employed in Indian affairs shall have any interest or concern in any trade with Indians except for and on account of the United States, and any person offending hereiu shall be liable to a penalty of $5,000, and shall be removed from his office. (Sec. 2078, Revised Statutes.)

(546.) Any person other than an Indian of the full blood who shall attempt to reside in the Indian country or on any Indian reservation as a trader, or to introduce goods, or to trade therein, without such license, shall forfeit all werchandise offered for sale to the Indians or found in his possession, and shall moreover be liable to a penalty of $500: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any person residing among or tradiug with the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, or Seminoles.

And provided further, That vo white person shall be employed as a clerk by any Indian trader, except such as trade with said five civilized tribes, unless first licensed so to do by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, under and in conformity to regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior. (Act of July 31, 1842, 22 Statutes, 179.)

(547.) Every person, other than an Indian, who, within the Indian country, purchases or receives of any Indian in the way of barter, trade, or pledge a gun, trap, or other article commonly used in hunting, any instrument of husbandry, or cooking utensils of the kind commonly obtained by the Indians in their intercourse with the white people, or any article of clothing, except skips or furs, shall be liable to a penalty of $50. (Sec. 2135, Revised Statutes.)

(546.) Licenses to trade with the Indians will only be granted to citizens of the United States of unexceptionable character, and who are fit persons to be in the Indian country. (Sec. 2128, Revised Statutes.) (549.) A bond in the penal sum of $10,000 is required.

(Sec. 250, Instructions, 1880; sec. 2128, Revised Statutes.)

(1150.) Sureties must not be bonded officers of the United States.

(552.) This application must be forwarded through the agent in charge of the Indians with whom it is desired to trade.

(554.) All applications for license or renewal of license must be accompanied by agent's affidavit that be has no interest, directly or indirectly, present or prospective, in the proposed business or the profits arising therefrom, por any person for him, and that no arrangement for any benefit to himself or other person or persons on his behalf is in contemplation in case the license shall be granted.

(555.) No license will be granted for a longer period than one year, but at the end of that time

a new license may be granted. (556.) A new bond must be given with each renewal of license.

(559.) The principals of all trading establishments will be held responsible for the conduct and acts of the persons in their employ in the Indian country.

(560.) Licenses will be revoked by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs whenever, in his opinion, the persons licensed, or any of those in his or their employ, “shall have transgressed any of the laws or regulations made for the government of trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, or that it would be improper to permit them to remain in the Indian country.”

(562.) All licensed traders, before any goods shall be offered for sale, shall exhibit to the agent the original invoices of all goods intended for sale, and also the bills of lading therefor, together with the price at which each article is to be sold, and it is the duty of each agent to see that the prices are in all cases fair and reasonable.

(566.) No trade is permitted with any other tribe or tribes at any other place or places than are specified in the license. (Sec. 245, Instructions 1880.) (567.) In making purchases from Indians, money only must be used.

Payment, however, may be made in goods for labor or for articles purchased, provided payment is made at the time of the performance of labor or delivery of articles pur


chased, and that payment in goods was agreeri upon at the time of contracting for the labor or purchase of the goods. (Sec. 246, Iustructions 1880; Circular 68, Indian Office.)

(571.) If credit is given the Indians by the trader he must take the risk of his action, as is done by all business men, and no assistance in the collection of alleged claims will be given him by the agent. (Section 96, Instructions 1880.)

(572.) Traders will not be allowed, under any circumstances, to sell to the Indians breech-loading arms, pistols of any description, fixed ammunition, or metallic cartridges. (See sec. 373; sec. 467 ; and 2136 Revised Statutes; joint resolution August 5, 1876, 19 Statutes, 216; Circular 100, Indian Office.)

(573.) The fact of having a license to trade with Indians does not confer upon the trader the right to herd or raise cattle upon the reservation, or to be directly or indi. rectly interested in such business, or the profits arising therefrom. (Circular 80, Indian Office.)

(574.) Traders are forbidden to buy, trade for, or have in their possession any annuity or other goods of any description that have been purchased for or furnished by the Government for the use or welfare of the Indians. (See sec. 364; Circular 81, Indian Office.)



In 1877 the Bureau of Education issued a bulletin upon this question, in which estimates and enumerations are given in more or less detail of the entire Indian population at different periods from 1790 to 1877, as well as more extended statements concerning certain groups of tribes, as the Six Nations of New York. The Commissioner of Education remarks:

In considering the following statement of Indian population at different periods from 1790 to 1876, several things should be remembered and heeded :

(1) It is entirely impracticable to present any trustworthy statement of the number of Indians in the whole territory comprised within the present liinits of the United States in 1790, or at any subsequent period down to about the year 1850.2 All euumerations and estimates prior to the latter date were based on fragmentary and otherwise insufficient data. Our official intercourse with the Indian tribes at the beginning of this century did not extend much beyond the Ohio River and the Mississippi from its confluence with the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico; and our information respecting the number of Indian tribes beyoud, and their numerical strength, was extremely meager and indefinite. The number of Indian tribes in official relations with the United States steadily increased from 1978, the date of our first Indian treaty, to within a

few years.

(2) Such estimates and enumerations as have been presented do not coincide (es. cept in two instances, 1890 and 1870) in date with the years in which the regular census of the United States was taken, nor do they appear at regular intervals.

(3) It is almost invariably true that estimates of the numbers of an Indian tribe exceed the real numbers; and, from the nature of the case, all official enumerations, until within a very recent period, have necessarily included many estimates, and are for that reason inaccurate. (4) The United States census returns before 1850 did not include Indiaps.

Incorporated in general report of Indian Commissioner, 1877, p. 485. ? This remark is almost equally true of estimates and enumerations from 1850 to the present time.

« PreviousContinue »