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Regulations for Trade with the Indians


Resolved, That a Committee of Three be appointed to take into consideration the matter of inlisting Apprentices, and persons in debt, and report thereon to Congress.

The Members chosen, Mr˙ McKean, Mr˙ Paine, and Mr˙ Wythe.

The Committee to whom part of the Report on the Treaty held with the Indians at Albany, and the Letter from V˙ P˙ Douw, Esq˙, was recommitted, brought in their Report, which being taken into consideration, the Congress, thereupon, came to the following Resolutions:

Resolved, That in order to preserve the friendship and confidence of the Indians, and to prevent their suffering for want of the necessaries of life, a suitable assortment of Indian Goods, to the amount of £40,000 sterling, be imported on account and risk of the United Colonies.

That the said Goods, when imported, he divided among the different Departments, in the following proportions, viz:


For the Northern Department, comprehending Canada, the value of £13,333 6s˙ 8d˙ sterling; for the Middle Department, the like value, and the residue for the Southern Department.

That in order to pay for the said Goods, a quantity of produce of these Colonies be exported to some foreign European market, where it will sell to the best advantage.

That the Secret Committee be empowered to contract with proper persons for importing said Goods, and for exporting produce to pay the same.

That the said Goods, when imported, be delivered to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs for the respective Departments, or their order, in the proportions before mentioned.

That the respective Commissioners, or such of them as can conveniently assemble for that purpose, shall, as the Goods arrive, fix a price, adding to the first cost, interest, the charge of insurance, and all other charges; and, also, a commission, not exceeding two and-a-half per cent, on the first cost, for their own care and trouble in receiving, storing and selling them among the Indian traders; but such Commissioners as are at the same time members of Congress, shall not be burdened with this part of the business, nor receive any part of the aforesaid commission.

That no person shall be permitted to trade with the Indians without license from one or more of the Commissioners of each respective Department.

That all traders shall dispose of their Goods at such stated reasonable prices, as shall be fixed and ascertained by the Commissioners, or a majority of such as can conveniently assemble for that purpose, in each respective Department, and shall allow the Indians a reasonable price for their skins and furs, and take no unjust advantage of their distress or intemperance; and, for this purpose they shall, respectively, upon receiving their licenses, enter into bond to the Commissioners, for the use of the United Colonies, in such penalty, as the acting Commissioners, or Commissioner, shall think proper, conditioned for the performance of the terms and regulations above prescribed.

That to such licensed traders only, the respective Commissioners shall deliver the Goods, so to be imported, in such proportions as they shall judge will best promote a fair trade, and relieve the necessities of the Indians.

That every trader, on receiving the Goods, shall pay to the Commissioners in hand, the price at which they shall be estimated; and the Commissioners shall, from time to time, as the money shall come to their hands, transmit the same to the Continental Treasurers, deducting only the allowance for their trouble as aforesaid.

That the trade with the Indian nations shall be carried on at such posts, or places only, as the Commissioners for each Department shall, respectively, appoint.

That these Resolutions shall not be construed to prevent or debar any private person from importing goods for the Indian trade, under the restrictions expressed in the Association.

Adjourned to ten o' clock, on Monday.