An Act to Regulate Trade and Intercourse With the Indian
July 22, 1790
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Licenses to trade with the Indians, by whom to be granted.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That no person shall be permitted to carry
on any trade or intercourse with the Indian tribes, without a license for that purpose
under the hand and seal of the superintendent of the department, or of such other
person as the President of the United States shall appoint for that purpose; which
superintendent, or other person so appointed, shall, on application, issue such license
to any proper person, who shall enter into bond with one or more sureties, approved of
by the superintendent, or person issuing such license, or by the President of the United
States, in the penal sum of one thousand dollars, payable to the President of the United
States for the time being, for the use of the United States, conditioned for the true and
faithful observance of such rules, regulations and restrictions, as now are, or hereafter
shall be made for the government of trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes. The
said superintendents, and persons by them licensed as aforesaid, shall be governed in all
things touching the said trade and intercourse, by such rules and regulations as the President
shall prescribe. And no other person shall be permitted to carry on any trade or intercourse
with the Indians without such license as aforesaid No license shall be granted for a longer
term than two years. Provided nevertheless, That the President may make such order respecting
the tribes surrounded in their settlements by the citizens of the United States, as to
secure an intercourse without license, if he may deem it proper.
and how to be obtained.
May be recalled for certain transgressions.
Penalty for trading without license.
Sales of lands by Indians, in what cases valid.
Offences committed within the Indian territory, how to be punished.
Act of Sep. 24, 1789.
Continuance of this act.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the superintendent, or person issuing such
license, shall have full power and authority to recall all such licenses as he may have
issued, if the person so licensed shall transgress any of the regulations or restrictions
provided for the government of trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and shall put in suit
such bonds as he may have taken, immediately on the breach of any condition in said bond:
Provided always, That if it shall appear on trial, that the person from whom such license
shall have been recalled, has not offended against any of the provisions of this act, or
the regulations prescribed for the trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, he shall
be entitled to receive a new license.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That every person who shall attempt to trade
with the Indian tribes, or to be found in the Indian country with such merchandise
in his possession as are usually vended to the Indians, without a license first had
and obtained, as in this act prescribed, and being thereof convicted in any court
proper to try the same, shall forfeit all the merchandise so offered for sale to the
Indian tribes, or so found in the Indian country, which forfeiture shall be one half
to the benefit of the person prosecuting, and the other half to the benefit of the
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no sale of lands made by any Indians,
or any nation or tribe of Indians the United States, shall be valid to any person or
persons, or to any state, whether having the right of pre-emption to such lands or not,
unless the same shall be made and duly executed at some public treaty, held under
the authority of the United States.
SEC. 5. 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 into
any town, settlement or territory belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians, and
shall there commit any crime upon, or trespass against, the person or property of any
peaceable and friendly Indian or Indians, which, if committed within the jurisdiction of any
state, or within the jurisdiction of either of the said districts, against a citizen or
white inhabitant thereof, would be punishable by the laws of such state or district, such
offender or offenders shall be subject to the same punishment, and shall be proceeded
against in the same manner as if the offence had been committed within the jurisdiction
of the state or district to which he or they may belong, against a citizen or white in
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That for any of the crimes or offences aforesaid,
the like proceedings shad be had for apprehending, imprisoning or bailing the offender,
as the case may be, and for recognizing the witnesses for their appearance to testify
in the case, and where the offender shall be committed, or the witnesses shall be in a
district other than that in which the offence is to be tried, for the removal of the
offender and the witnesses or either of them, as the case may be, to the district in
which the trial is to be had, as by the act to establish the judicial courts of the
United States, are directed for any crimes or offenses against the United States.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force for the term
of two years, and from thence to the end of the next session of Congress, and no longer.
APPROVED, July 22, 1790.
Source : United States Statutes at Large. First Congress. Sess. II. Ch. XXXIII, pp. 137-138.
Library of Congress, American Memory, A Century of Lawmaking, U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1873
Note : This law was regularly renewed.
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