Nancy Lee-Riffe


During England's civil war in the seventeenth century, British journalism and newspapers got their start. Legions of newssheets were written and distributed. Though some of them ran for several years and hundreds of issues, most were only short-lived ventures. The underground Royalist papers had a particularly difficult time. One of these, of which only three issues have survived, is Mercurius Aulicus (For King Charles II). A weekly published in 1649, its intent is to attack and mock the actions of the new government and to spur loyalty and support for Charles, the son of the beheaded king. In it Florida is mentioned as a possible place to which Royalist members of Parliament may flee to set up a sanctuary from the troubles raging in England.