21. President Jefferson on the Liquor Trade, December 31, 1808
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24 exclusive of the salary of the superintendent of Indian trade, and of the allowances to agents and clerks, be, and the same is hereby appropriated, for the purpose of carrying on trade and intercourse with the Indian nations, in the manner aforesaid, to be paid out of any monies in the treasury of the United States, not otherwise appropriated. Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That if any agent or agents, their clerks, or other person employed by them, shall purchase or receive from any Indian, in the way of trade or barter, any gun, or other article commonly used in hunting; any instrument of husbandry or cooking utensil, of the kind usually obtained by Indians in their intercourse with white people, or any article of clothing, excepting skins or furs, he or they shall respectively forfeit the sum of one hundred dollars for each offence, to be recovered by action of debt, in the name and to the use of the United States, in any court having jurisdiction in like cases. . . . Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the said superintendent of Indian trade, under the direction of the President of the United States, to cause the said furs and peltry to be sold at public auction, public notice whereof shall be given three weeks previous to such sale, in different parts of the United States, making an equal distribution of the same, in proportion to the demand of the market, and as may be deemed most advantageous to the United States, and upon such terms and conditions as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of War: Provided, that there shall not be less than six annual public sales, of the said furs and peltry, and that the superintendent of Indian trade shall not hold more than two such sales in any state, during any one year. . . . [U.S. Statutes at Large, 2:402–4.] 21. President Jefferson on the Liquor Trade December 31, 1808 Federal restrictions on liquor trade with the Indian tribes extended only to territory under federal jurisdiction, not to the states. On December 31, 1808, President Thomas Jefferson wrote to the governors of the states and territories, urging them to restrain their citizens from selling liquor to the Indians. Sir,β€”The General Government of the United States has considered it their duty and interest to extend their care and patronage over the Indian tribes within their limits , and to endeavor to render them friends, and in time perhaps useful members of the nation. Perceiving the injurious effects produced by their inordinate use of spirituous liquors, they passed laws authorizing measures against the vending or distributing such liquors among them. Their introduction by traders was accordingly prohibited, and for some time was attended with the best effects. I am informed, however, that latterly the Indians have got into the practice of purchasing such liquors themselves in the neighboring settlements of whites, and of carrying them into their towns, and that in this way our regulations so salutary to them, are now defeated . I must, therefore, request your Excellency to submit this matter to the consideration of your Legislature. I persuade myself that in addition to the moral inducements which will readily occur, they will find it not indifferent to their own interests to give us their aid in removing, for their neighbors, this great obstacle to their acquiring industrious habits, and attaching themselves to the regular and useful pursuits of life; for this purpose it is much desired that they should pass effectual laws to restrain their citizens from vending and distributing spirituous liquors to the Indians. I pray your Excellency to accept the assurances of my great esteem and respect. [Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Andrew A. Lipscomb, 12:223–24.] ...