(36 Geo. III. C. 8 and c. 7) This pair of Acts form the so-called “gagging acts” by which Pitt’s government tried to prevent the expression of radical ideas and contain social unrest at a time of famine and rising prices. The specific cause was the mass meeting held by the London Corresponding Society at Copenhagen House, Islington, on 26th October, and the pelting of the king’s coach on October 29th as he went to open the parliamentary session. The earlier food riots in Nottingham also weighed on the government. The Seditious Meetings Act empowered magistrates to order the dispersal of any meeting of more than 50 people. The Treasonable Practices Act made it a crime punishable by seven years …
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Editors. "Seditious Meetings Act and Treasonable Practices Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=998, accessed 30 May 2017.]