Mercurius Politicus

Mercurius Politicus was a newsbook that was published weekly from June 1650 until the English Restoration in May 1660. Under the editorship of Marchamont Nedham, it supported the republican governments. From 1655 until 1659 it had a monopoly on news publication.[1]


Mercurius Politicus was Marchmont Nedham's most significant enterprise, which he used as a platform for the Commonwealth regime. (Nedham received a government payment of £50 in May 1650, probably to start this venture.) This third Nedham weekly began in June 1650, on a light note: "Why should not the Commonwealth have a Fool as well as the King had?" – but soon settled into a more serious vein as a voice of the republican movement of the day.[2] He rested the case for the Commonwealth on arguments similar to those of Hobbes: that "the Sword is, and ever hath been, the Foundation of all Titles to Government", and that it was hardly likely that the Commonwealth's adversaries would ever succeed in their designs.[3] Politicus continued for the next decade, the term of the Commonwealth era, under alternative titles like the Public Intelligence or Public Intelligencer. In 1655 the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell rewarded Nedham with an official post, so that Nedham was then perceived as a spokesman for the regime.


  1. ^ Eaman 2009, p. 203.
  2. ^ Anthony 1966, pp. 595–596.
  3. ^ Franklin 2001, p. 82.


  • Anthony, H. Sylvia (October–December 1966), "Mercurius Politicus under Milton", Journal of the History of Ideas, 27 (4): 593–609, doi:10.2307/2708343
  • Franklin, J. (2001), The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 82, ISBN 0801865697
  • Eaman, Ross (2009), The A to Z of Journalism, Scarecrow Press, p. 203, ISBN 9780810870673