Hancock: Very well, gentleman, we are about to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper, and how it will end God only knows.
Hopkins: That's a pretty large signature Johnny.
Hancock: So fat George in London can read it without his glasses! All right gentlemen - step right up- and don't miss your chance to commit treason.
Franklin: Hancock's right-this paper is our passport to the gallows. But there's no backing out now- if we don't hang together- we shall most assuredly hang separately. (from the musical 1776)
When the members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence they were committing treason against Britain, according to British law. The punishment for treason was designed to discourage this type of behavior.
First you were drawn - dragged by a horse to your place of execution (sometimes on a hurdle). Then you were hanged by the neck, but not with a sudden drop which would quickly break your neck. You got to suffer slowly... Then, before you were dead, you were cut down, stripped of your clothes, your genitals were cut off, your bowels cut out, and they were burned before your eyes. Your body was then quartered (cut into four parts) and submitted to the king for his just disposal...