James Madison Papers

Indian Trading Houses, [13 January] 1796

Indian Trading Houses

[13 January 1796]

The clerk read for the third time the bill establishing trading houses with the Indians. Salaries and penalties were fixed for the agents and the clerks, and $150,000 was proposed as the sum to be expended on goods (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 4th Cong., 1st sess., 240).

Mr. Madison after remarking that he had very little confidence in plans in which the government takes the place of individuals, said, in order to mature this plan and render it susceptible of the highest probable success, he thought a short postponement might answer a valuable purpose. Adverting to the time necessary to procure the goods proper for this trade, he supposed that individuals would be the importers and that a few days delay would not essentially affect the main object.

Gazette of the U.S., 14 Jan. 1796 (briefly reported in Philadelphia Gazette, 14 Jan. 1796). After further debate, including disagreements with the Senate, the president signed “An Act for establishing Trading Houses with the Indian Tribes” on 18 Apr. 1796 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:452–53).

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