These two pastels allude to the press-gang system England applied at the time of the Franco-English wars. Under the press-gang, or presse anglaise, sailors coming back from war were forced by the English to embark onto other boats to America. The system was described by F.H. Nortin in the article 'Nostalgia and Homesickness' published in Appletons' journal on 9 October 1869, p. 239: 'During [England's] conflicts with France, the sailors of her merchant-marine were seized on their return from long voyages, when in sight even of their very homes, were torn from the embraces of their family, and forced on board of British men-of-war, to enter another unknown period of trial and danger, in the moment when their hearts were bouyant with the delights of their long-anticipated return to the homes of their childhood. The terrible revulsion of feeling of nostalgia, eventuating in confirmed physical deterioration and death; while in some cases, so desperate did the victims of these fearful outrages become, that they put an end to their miseries and their lives at once by leaping into the sea'. The first drawing represents figures forced into small boats leading to men-o-war in the background; the second represents their pitiful return.