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William Blake 250 anniversary: The SOCPA scene in his time...

In 1795... there were treason trials and transportations, while the threat of execution was stayed only by juries who refused to condemn their countrymen for their opinions. ...the actual London populace - faced with unemployment and shortages of bread as the French war continued - were far less amenable to the usual state slogans. “On the day the King went to open the parliament... the crowd which was immense, Hissed and groaned and called out No Pitt - No War - Peace Peace, Bread Bread.” Habeas Corpus had been suspended in the spring of 1794 but now two acts were passed against “treasonable and seditious Practices” as well as “Seditious Meetings and Assemblies”.

From Peter Ackroyd's poetic and scholarly book, Blake, (published by Minerva 1996).