Return, Archibald Sillers, Franklin County, to the secretary of the Mississippi Territory, accounting for alien enemy, David Beckett
The series contains documents relating to the monitoring of British subjects in the Mississippi Territory during the period when the U.S. was engaged in the War of 1812. A circular dated July 11, 1812, and signed by U.S. Secretary of State James Monroe declared that "all subjects of His Britannic Majesty, residing within the United States, have become alien enemies..." (See document # 5). As such, British subjects were compelled by law to report to their respective territorial secretaries, who in turn reported to the U.S. Department of State. The following information was required in the reporting process: age, length of time in the U.S., family description, place of residence, occupation, and whether or not application for naturalization had been made.
The documents include copies of the pertinent acts and instructions transmitted to and throughout the territories, individual reports of British subjects (many of which include place of birth - Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland), and returns of county officials reporting in summary to the territorial secretary. Also included are a number of related documents such as accompanying cover letters and communications with the U.S. Secretary of State.