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In the years leading up to the 18th century, there were many riots in England that were often violently put down by the Volunteers, a paramilitary force composed of local gentry and middle class.
At the same time, sailors angry over the type and level of punishment (the most severe of western Europe) sometimes mutinied and killed their officers.
It is against this background that the London Corresponding Society managed to stir up the masses to demand more equality in the kingdom. The answer was quite bloody and only increased tension.