It having come to the knowledge of the Commander in Chief of the district that certain
persons have been and still are imprisoning and holding to service Indians against their
will, and without any legal contract, and without a due regard to their rights as freeman
when not under legal contract for service.It is hereby ordered that all persons
so holding or detaining Indians shall release them, and permit them to return to their own
homes, unless they can make a contract with them which shall be acknowledged before the
nearest Justice, which contract, shall be binding upon both parties.
The Indian population must not be regarded in the light of slaves, but it is deemed
necessary that the Indians within the Settlement shall have employment, with the right of
choosing their own master and employers; and after having made such choice, they must
abide by it, unless they can obtain permission in writing to leave, or the Justice on their
complaint shall consider they have just cause to annul the contract, and permit them to
obtain another employer.
All Indians must be required to obtain service, and not be permitted to wander about the
country in idle and dissolute manner; if found doing so they will be liable to arrest and
punishment by labor on the Public Works at the direction of the Magistrate.
All Officers, civil or military, under my command are required to execute the terms of the
order, and take notice of every violation thereof.
Given at head quarters in Yerba Buena
September 15, 1846.
JOHN B. MONTGOMERY.
Commanding District of San Francisco.
Published for the government of all concerned.
Washington A. Bartlett
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