HE has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

In December, 1775, Parliament passed a law authorizing the British navy to capture the ships and cargoes of other countries trading with the American colonies, as though they were enemies of Great Britain. In addition, the law authorized that anyone captured in the taking of these ships was to be compelled to fight for the British, even though this meant that such persons would have to fight against their own countrymen.