The civil wars had divided the English people ideologically to an unprecedented extent and had greatly heightened popular awareness of political events. Both Parliament and king soon accepted that this was a war for hearts and minds as well as one fought with arms. Through the press, the pulpit and the marching armies the issues were carried to most parts of the land. Members of rural and urban elites were quickly forced to declare their allegiance, but humbler people too developed their own opinions, from soldiers talking politics in winter quarters to Cornish women who attacked Roundhead soldiers as they retreated from the county. 1 After the first civil war the issues were never to seem as clear-cut, but there was still much to preoccupy the reading public, from reports of victories in Ireland and Scotland to prurient accounts of Ranters and Quakers. People in the 1640s and 1650s had been exposed to a volume of news and political information vastly greater than had ever been seen in England before. Was this exposure to continue under Charles II? And would his subjects’ thirst for news breed divisions and threaten the stability of his regime?