"Contemporary Politics in Massinger"

Critic: Allen Gross
Source: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 6, No. 2 (Spring 1966): 279-90.
Criticism about: Philip Massinger (1583-1640)

Nationality: British; English

[(essay date 1966) In the following essay, Gross argues against the predominant opinion that Massinger's plays are full of specific topical references but notes that Massinger did have an interest in politics and political theory and occasionally dealt with contemporary political questions in his plays.]

Nowadays the plays of Massinger and early Stuart politics seem linked as a matter of course. T. A. Dunn, in his recent study of the playwright,1 certainly has no doubt that several of Massinger's works are full of references to and comments upon the attitudes and personalities of specific contemporary political figures. In this scholar's opinion, we need only read Massinger's plays with a working knowledge of Jacobean and Caroline history to have such references and comments--largely derogatory--stand out immediately in high relief. In coming to his conclusion, Mr. Dunn makes no pretense to originality. Nearly a century ago, Samuel R. Gardiner, the famous English historian, discovered what he took to be political allusions in Massinger and, over and over again, commentators have repeated, modified, and amplified his conclusions.2 Therefore, when Philip Edwards, in a recent article on the playwright, says that the king in The Maid of Honour is "usually supposed to be an image of James, hesitant about aid to the Elector Palatine,"3 he is merely echoing the received opinion that Massinger's plays are full of specific references to contemporary politics. This opinion is nevertheless incorrect, and it is my purpose in this paper to argue against it. In doing so, I shall, of course, be following in the path of Professor G. E. Bentley, whose brief, but pointed criticisms4 of those who would find specific political allusions in Massinger led me to believe that a fresh appraisal of the evidence was called for. In undertaking this appraisal, I shall examine not only the dubious nature of the arguments which draw parallels between the plays and contemporary persons and events, but also the ways in which Massinger's commentators misuse historical sources, and fail to come to terms with official early Stuart censorship. The first part of my paper, therefore, is necessarily destructive. In the second part, however, I shall attempt to rescue Gardiner's insight--that Massinger's plays do indeed demonstrate a serious concern for contemporary politics--from Gardiner's own abuse of that insight. If Gardiner and his disciples overstated their case, that does not mean that there was no case to begin with. Regrettably, we must give up the notion that Massinger drew satirical portraits of James, and Charles, and Buckingham; nevertheless, we can still successfully entertain the idea that Massinger's plays do indeed express developing attitudes toward two major problems of early Stuart England--taxation at home and intervention on the Continent in the Thirty Years' War. To express attitudes on these subjects and not to be reprimanded was a problem that Massinger, on several occasions during his career, brilliantly solved.

In finding specific political allusions in Massinger, scholars are faced with two preliminary difficulties. In the first place, neither is Massinger's subject matter nor are his interests particularly unusual. It is true that he seems more earnest about his politics than, say, Shirley, but it is a big step from impersonal earnestness to personal reference, from general maxims on the nature, duties, and prerogatives of kingship,5 to recognizable portraits of Buckingham and James and Charles. Secondly, the presence of such portraits, largely satirical, would contrast violently with Massinger's apparent political orthodoxoy. There is, in fact, very little in his plays to which James or Charles need have taken exception. Massinger always gives his rulers absolute power. Moreover, the value of royal absolutism as a means of governing nations is never seriously questioned. Rulers may need advice, but a distinction is always made between advice and the power to act on it. Rulers may be wicked; nevertheless it is wrong to revolt against them, or to kill them. It is possible, of course, that Massinger endorsed royal absolutism and, at the same time, vilified two of its chief exponents, James and Charles: but is it likely? Massinger's commentators seem to think it is, at least in the case of four of his plays. In each of these, so its commentators say, major English political figures are depicted, largely in terms of their shortcomings. To Mr. Spencer, the first act of The Bondman does not merely show us Syracuse preparing for war; it is, in essence, a plea for England's active participation on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years' War, and contains portraits of Prince Maurice of Holland and of the titular Queen of Bohemia, admonitory advice to James and to the House of Commons, and a satirical sketch of the Duke of Buckingham. Miss Bryne does not feel that The Maid of Honour is interventionist propaganda. Still, she thinks it is something more than the story of a king who, determined to avoid fighting in an unjust war, becomes aware, in the course of the play, of the deep moral cowardice of his brother and the pernicious wickedness of his favorite. Moving allegorically within the play, we find, not only King James and his favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, but numerous Continental figures important in the Thirty Years' War. Miss Stochholm, undismayed by the fairy-tale atmosphere of The Great Duke of Florence, finds not a fictional duke, betrayed by his nephew and his favorite, but James, Charles, and Buckingham. Finally, according to Gardiner, Believe as You List has as its central figure not Antiochus, but Frederick, the Elector Palatine, and titular King of Bohemia. Furthermore, the court of Prusias in the play is actually the court of Charles.

Such parallels are difficult to attack directly because they are founded not so much on accuracy as on vagueness. The historical James and the fictional Roberto in The Maid of Honour both were kings with favorites; both gave lavish masques; both favored peace. The details pile up but, somehow, do not add up. Portraits, like this one, are so indefinite in their outlines that one may feel they could be made to fit more than one person; in fact, this has happened. Gardiner, who misdated The Maid of Honour, placing it in the reign of Charles, was able, at some points, to equate Roberto not only with James, but with his son. Vagueness, however, is not excused; it is erected into a principle. Naturally, it is asserted, Fulgentio, Roberto's favorite, could not appear too much like Buckingham; Buckingham would never have permitted it. As Miss Stochholm puts it, references, critical of early Stuart rule, "are always more or less veiled, so that while discerning spectators would have no trouble in recognizing and enjoying the hints and suggestions, the Master of the Revels could not take offense and forbid the performance of the play."6 It is well, one surmises, that James and Charles and Buckingham were less perspicacious than Miss Stockholm and her fellow critics.

A second difficulty with the arguments of those who would find political allusions in Massinger is the decline in reasonableness and balanced judgment which these arguments suffer as they progress. These lapses in judgment are symptomatic, I think, of the difficulty, in this sort of investigation, of drawing a satisfying line between the possible and the incredible. Miss Bryne and Gardiner are neither of them unintelligent, but both tend to stray from good sense. Miss Bryne is always full of qualification; nevertheless she wants to equate Aurelia, a fictional duchess in The Maid of Honour, with the Emperor Ferdinand on the basis of a single word. Aurelia has been "By reason taught, as nature." "It is just possible," says Miss Bryne, "that 'reason' hints at the Jesuit education of Ferdinand." Gardiner, who solemnly warns us against finding any political satire in The Emperor of the East, finds reference in The Bondman, in one relatively brief speech of Timoleon, not only to Buckingham, but to the Earl of Middlesex.7 Examples could be multiplied, but the point could not be made more clearly. Objectivity is always difficult to maintain, but the game of analogies seems like a positive encouragement to the wrong sort of ingenuity.

It is not only through their thoroughgoing vagueness and their frequent lapses into incredibility that those who would find specific politics in Massinger lose our confidence; their use of historical sources frequently generates suspicion as well. In her discussion of the political allusions in The Great Duke, Miss Stochholm uses hardly any contemporary references. Mr. Spencer and Miss Bryne, while analyzing The Bondman and The Maid of Honour respectively, make a different sort of error. They use contemporary accounts, but they do not trouble themselves to weigh seriously the credentials of the authors of these accounts. When one consults Oliver St. John, Sir Anthony Weldon, Francis Osborne, and Sir Edward Peyton, one surely has to take into consideration a notable anti-Stuart bias which Massinger cannot be said to have shared. Miss Bryne, indeed, admits that her sources are biased, but insists that they are representative of "the popular opinion known to Massinger."8 Here Miss Bryne reveals, not the nature of her sources, but her own prejudice. Mr. Spencer is, in this respect, merely a more extreme version of Miss Bryne. His dislike for Buckingham is, in fact, so intense that he is willing to telescope time in order to give vent to it. Thus, in The Bondman, we are asked to find a satirical portrait of Buckingham in a passage in which a Syracusan refers to the military incompetence of the enemy "Admirall."9 When this passage was written, Buckingham was indeed Lord High Admiral. The emphasis of the passage is not, however, on the title of the enemy commander, but on his unfitness for his job. Buckingham was definitely shown to lack competence as a military leader but, in 1623, when The Bondman was written, there was no evidence of his deficiency.

Connected with this uncritical use of contemporary accounts is the unquestioned, but unwarranted assumption that Massinger had open access to a great deal that was going on at court. I cannot believe, with Mr. Spencer, that the playwright was cognizant of the vicissitudes of Anglo-Dutch diplomacy. It is also difficult for me to accept Gardiner's notion, in his discussion of Believe as You List, that Massinger knew at least as much as he about political maneuvering at court, and about the motives and characters of Charles, his queen, his Lord High Treasurer, and the Spanish ambassador. Finally, I am reluctant to accede to Miss Bryne's idea that the playwright was aware of the details of the negotiations between James and Frederick's ambassador, Dohna, and between James and Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador. Since, during the reigns of James and Charles, there was a total absence of public newspapers with domestic political news, such knowledge would not have been easy for a commoner to obtain, and no special link can be established between Massinger and the court.10

Up to this point I have been assuming, along with his critics, that Massinger had the opportunity to speak his mind freely, albeit allegorically, on the public stage. Miss Bryne and Miss Stochholm give official censorship only passing reference, and Mr. Spencer and Gardiner ignore it altogether. Such casual treatment of government interference is decidedly unrealistic; it is simply untrue that it was possible for Massinger to criticize with impunity the policies and characters of kings and statesmen. However much he may have wanted to fill his plays with contemporary politics--and there is some documentary evidence that he did11--he was faced with the fact that neither James nor Charles felt that their subjects were privileged to express opinions on politics. As a matter of fact, the end of Massinger's apprenticeship as a playwright can be roughly synchronized with an intensive campaign of government censorship which ended only with the Civil Wars. In 1620, James issued, and the following year reissued, a proclamation against "lavish Discourse and bould Censure in Matters of State." In 1623 and 1624 he prohibited, again by proclamation, the printing and importation of books and pamphlets against the state or the state religion.12 In addition, throughout his reign, but especially in his later years, James attempted to control the pulpit. In this respect, his son emulated him,13 but not in this respect alone. In 1627 Charles restricted, in 1632 prohibited even the printing of foreign news--despite the fact that such news was invariably biased in favor of the cause of his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Frederick of Bohemia.14 Finally, in 1637, the decree of 1586, which affirmed the right of the Crown to censor the products of the press, was reinforced and supplemented by a decree of a similar nature.15 Of course, it is true that, in large part, these assertions of the royal prerogative are a record of failure. Even when recording failure, however, one must preserve a sense of proportion. Presses can be hidden, pamphlets can be distributed surreptitiously, but plays cannot, by their very nature, avoid publicity. Massinger, had he wanted to express his political opinions, could not have chosen his medium more injudiciously.

We see, then, that the censorship common in the reign of Elizabeth was no less common and, in intent at least, probably more restrictive in the reigns of the two early Stuarts. It only remains to say that Buc and Herbert--the two Masters of the Revels who censored the plays of Massinger and his contemporaries--were only functionaries in the extended machinery by which James and Charles sought to regulate what was said and what was written. Neither was likely to give Massinger much free rein, and we have evidence that Herbert twice checked the playwright's exuberance.16 Both of these instances of censorship occur after the scandal concerning A Game at Chesse (1624)--a scandal which had as its source Herbert's approval of a play later condemned. After this scandal, which precedes the writing of The Great Duke and Believe as You List, it would not be unreasonable to expect an increased vigilance on Herbert's part. This is not to say that Herbert ever pictured himself as liberal with playwrights. He was, in fact, an exacting censor and, in 1633, he insisted that even old plays which had a license must be brought to him before revival, "since they may be full of offensive things against church and state; ye rather that in former time the poetts tooke greater liberty than is allowed them by mee."17

To say that Massinger could not have expressed certain opinions is not to say that in his plays he had to insulate himself against the vital issues of his times. Generally he chose to and generally the politics in his plays are empty of contemporary significance; but not always. If, for a moment, we forget the plots of The Maid of Honour (c. 1621?) and The Bondman (1623)18 and remember only the generating situation in each play, we will find that we are on common ground. Two island kingdoms are arguing about going to war and, in a sense, their debates are complementary. In The Maid of Honour, the war is unjust, so that Bertoldo's generous impulse is vitiated by the badness of the cause he proposes to defend. In The Bondman the war is just, but preparedness, both military and financial, is lacking. The parallel between these fictional debates and the historical vacillation of England on the question of intervention in the Thirty Years' War immediately comes to mind. At the time that these two plays were written, English interest in the fortunes of Protestantism on the Continent was at its peak. "I know the eyes of all Europe are now upon us and our parlement," wrote John Chamberlain to his friend at The Hague, and ballads, corantos, pamphlets, sermons, and even, possibly, a play testify that interest and feelings were high.19 The Parliament of 1621 opted for war. James, however, drew back. He was not sure that Frederick was within his rights, or that Parliament was, and he found the idea of a Spanish match attractive. Volunteers might go to help Frederick, but he would not declare war.

The Maid of Honour reflects this combination of enthusiasm and restraint. King Roberto's position is undoubtedly correct--he will not support the aggressions of an ally with whom he has a defensive treaty. Nevertheless, Bertoldo's plea in favor of the martial virtues as against the vices of peace, a plea which includes a tribute to the martial greatness of Elizabethan England, is undoubtedly meant to be stirring. Later, as the plot unfolds, we are forced to admit that Bertoldo is wrong, that courage in a bad cause is not virtue, but at this early point in the action the debate between Roberto and Bertoldo leaves us, I submit, with a sense of the moral ambiguities upon which any major political decision rests. The Bondman the later play, expresses a more resolute mood connected, perhaps, with the final failure of the Spanish match and the probable imminence of open hostilities. For in The Bondman the emphasis is on a nation nerving itself for the coming conflict. The Syracusans assess both their own military capabilities and those of the enemy, Carthage. Peace has corrupted Syracuse, and it is up to Timoleon and Cleora to show its citizens the necessity of relinquishing the pursuit of wealth and vicious pleasure and of binding together courageously against the common danger.

In treating war as an opportunity for national reassessment, in capturing, for a few moments on the stage, the sense of anxious stocktaking, moral and material, that informs the consciousness of a nation on the verge of war, Massinger was merely capitalizing on, and moralizing on a topic of great interest to Jacobean Englishmen. The Bondman and The Maid of Honour are not propaganda for English intervention in the Thirty Years' War; they are partisan only in the sense that they seem to support the idea that a just war is or can be a moral purgative for a nation. The final version of Believe as You List, 1631),20 on the other hand, seems to me to come close to being interventionist propaganda. By 1631, of course, English interest in the Thirty Years' War had abated. Still, the entrance into the war of Gustavus Adolphus, in 1630, was greeted in England by ballads, corantos, and perhaps a play, and was recorded with interest in the diary of Sir Symonds D'Ewes and in the letters of Sir John Eliot. Attention was not bestowed on Gustavus in vain. His arrival on the Continent infused the supporters of Frederick with hopes that were not entirely unfulfilled, and his death in 1632 was widely commemorated in England.21 The date of Believe as You List falls between Gustavus's arrival in Germany and his death. Though I find little political allegory in the play, I cannot disagree with Gardiner when he draws a general parallel between Antiochus and the historical Frederick. In both the play and contemporary history, we have a rightful ruler deprived of his throne and dependent for aid on vacillating allies. Though Antiochus's situation is not unique in Renaissance drama, it is sufficiently unusual to be striking, especially on account of its tragic resolution. Still, the equation is not all that Gardiner would have it. For him, the fictional King Prusias is the historical Charles and Prusuias's cowardice in going back on his promise to support the claims of Antiochus is a criticism of Charles's insufficient support of the claims of his brother-in-law. It is true that King Prusias acts disreputably when he drops Antiochus, but the correct inference is not that Prusias represents Charles, but that no English monarch would be so deficient in courage as to yield to threats of military force. Viewed historically, Believe as You List is not, in fact, a vilification of Caroline foreign policy, but a dignified plea for international justice in the case of Frederick. The play reflects the sadness of Frederick's plight, the hopes Gustavus offered for alleviating it, and the possibility that Charles might come to the aid of the Swedish king. I do not think that Charles would have minded the inference that he might be the prime mover in obtaining justice for his brother-in-law. Neither would he have minded, at this time, a somewhat subdued partisanship for Frederick's cause. Open partisanship was, after all, the attitude of the corantos which he had not yet firmly prohibited.22 In retrospect, however, the somber mood of Believe as You List contrasts sharply with the buoyancy of The Maid of Honour and the optimism of The Bondman. The Thirty Years' War had, after all, been raging for over a decade, and very little had been done on the part of England. The mood of The Maid of Honour and The Bondman was conditioned by the hopes for another heyday of English martial ascendancy; the mood of Believe as You List was formed by the failure of those hopes. The efforts of Mansfeld, the attacks on Cadiz and the Isle of Rh�, had led only to defeat and negotiation, and England was now at peace with her enemies, France and Spain.

On the issue of English intervention in the Thirty Years' War, Massinger's attitude proceeds from deliberation (The Maid of Honour) to resolution (The Bondman) to disillusionment (Believe as You List). On the question of domestic taxation his opinion develops along slightly different lines. In The Bondman (1623), Massinger not only depicts the climate of martial urgency which characterized the last years of James's reign; he also demonstrates that, as a corollary to such urgency, financial aid must be readily given. In the play, as in late Jacobean England, war is imminent, but money is lacking. Timoleon therefore decrees that "all moneys in the hand, / Of priuate men, shall instantly be brought / To the publike Treasurie," but his idea meets with fierce opposition. At this point, the play and reality part company. In the play, a rousing speech by Cleora, a young woman with a "Braue masculine spirit,"23 convinces all to cooperate financially in the war-effort. England had no Cleora, though it was not until 1629 that Charles realized this completely. When Massinger takes up the problem of taxation again in The Emperor of the East (1630/1631), licensed two years after the Parliament of 1629 and the inception of Charles's personal rule, he is no longer interested in the possibility of cooperation between a king and his people; he is concerned only with the prevention of possible abuses in the established royal machinery of taxation. In the play, Pulcheria, who is ruling in the territory of Theodosius, the monarch of the Eastern Roman Empire, blames a "Proiector" for advising the Emperor that, since "All is the Kings, his will aboue the lawes,"24 he ought therefore to use his prerogative to tax his subjects unfairly. There is little doubt that the passage is meant to refer to Caroline England. Pulcheria's denunciation is not necessary to the plot, and there is no king in the play. Nevertheless, there is nothing in the passage with which Charles could not agree. Massinger's alarm is genuine, but his anger is directed, not at the king, but at those who would advise him falsely. Near the end of his career, in the lost King and the Subject (1638), Massinger's alarm at possible abuses of the royal prerogative reaches its peak: "Monys?" says the King of Spain, "Wee'le rayse supplies what ways we please, / And force you to subscribe to blanks, in which / We'le mulct you as wee shall thinke fitt." There is little doubt that this passage, written at the height of the ship money controversy,25 was censored by Charles personally because it referred adversely to extensions of the royal prerogative which Massinger regarded as unjust. This fiery, isolated speech, the last of Massinger's that has come down to us, is in fact so denunciatory that it leaves open the possibility that at the end of his career Massinger no longer quite trusted his king.

In view of what has been said, I think it is possible to look upon Massinger as a topical writer partially frustrated in his aims. Not only do his plays exhibit an unflagging interest in general political theory; occasionally they manage to bring into the foreground the living issues of taxation and of English intervention in the Thirty Years' War. Such boldness generally marks the limit of Massinger's timeliness. Never, in his uncensored plays, does he bring an issue to the point at which it is possible to say, Charles is remiss, Buckingham is to blame. When, in the lost King and the Subject, he tries to overstep the bounds that have been set for him, he fails to escape the censor's notice. But had Herbert slipped, had The King and the Subject been put before an audience, it could not on that account have escaped condemnation. We have A Game at Chesse as our example.


1Philip Massinger ([Edinburgh], 1957), pp. 172-176.

2See Samuel R. Gardiner, "The Political Element in Massinger," The Contemporary Review, XXVIII (1876), 495-507; Eva A. W. Bryne, ed., The Maid of Honour (London, 1927), pp. xxiii-xxxii; Benjamin Townley Spencer, ed., The Bondman (Princeton, 1932), pp. 28-43; Johanne M. Stochholm, ed., The Great Duke of Florence (Baltimore, 1933), pp. lxviii-lxxvi. This is only a sampling of commentators.

3"Massinger the Censor," in Essays ... in Honor of Hardin Craig, ed. Richard Hosley (Columbia, Mo., 1962), p. 344.

4The Jacobean and Caroline Stage (Oxford, 1956), IV, 768-769, 787, and 798.

5See Dunn, pp. 163-172, and Spencer, "Philip Massinger" in Seventeenth Century Studies, ed. Robert Shafer (Princeton, 1933), pp. 91-119.

6P. lxviii.

7Bryne, p. xxxi; Gardiner, pp. 503, 497.

8Bryne, p. xxv.

9Spencer, pp. 35 and 173. For the passage in question, see I.i.49-56 (Spencer's ed.).

10Massinger would presumably have learned about the court from the Herberts, but of Massinger's actual relationship with the Herberts very little is known. He seems definitely to have sought their patronage and in "Sero, sed Serio" he calls the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery his "most singular good Lord and Patron," but none of this need mean very much and, besides, the poem postdates by several years the plays with supposed political allusions. According to Wood, Pembroke helped Massinger at Oxford, and Aubrey says that Philip, Earl of Montgomery, awarded Massinger a pension (see Bentley, IV, 751 and 756-757), but one need not believe either of them. Aubrey's statement sounds suspiciously like gossip and, indeed, he sent his brother to Wilton in search of such gossip about Massinger (Brief Lives, ed. Andrew Clark [Oxford, 1898], II, 54-55). Wood's statement seems no more reliable than Aubrey's. Despite his criticism of Aubrey as a source (The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark [Oxford, 1891-1900], II, 117), he was content to use the biographical information with which Aubrey supplied him (Clark, Wood, IV, 191, et passim, and John Britton, Memoir of John Aubrey [London, 1845], pp. 5-6 and 55-56).

11See Bentley, IV, 762-764 and 794-795.

12Thomas Rymer and Robert Sanderson, compilers, Foedera ... (London, 1727-1735), XVII, 275-276, 314, 522-523, 616-617.

13Godfrey Davies, "English Political Sermons, 1603-1640," HLQ, III (1939), 1-22.

14For restrictions, see Laurence Hanson, "English Newsbooks, 1620-1641," The Library, 4th series, XVII (1938), 374; and Folke Dahl, "Amsterdam--Cradle of English Newspapers," The Library, 5th series, IV (1949), 173-174. For Protestant bias, see W. P. Van Stockum, Jr., The First Newspapers of England, The Hague, 1914, passim; Hanson, "English Newsbooks," 382-383, and Dahl, A Bibliography of English Corantos and Periodical Newsbooks: 1620-1642 (London, 1952), pp. 68, 166, 178.

15See Edward Arber, A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London, 1554-1640 A. D. (London and Birmingham, 1875-1894), II, 807-812 and IV, 528-536.

16Sir Henry censored both the original version of Believe as You List and The King and the Subject. See Bentley, IV, 762-764 and 794-795.

17The Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert, ed. Joseph Quincy Adams (New Haven, 1917), p. 21. For Buc's attitudes, see Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, Government Regulation of the Elizabethan Drama (New York, 1908), pp. 108-118.

18All dates from Bentley, IV.

19John Chamberlain, Letters, ed. N. E. McClure (Philadelphia, 1939), II, 341; C. H. Firth, "The Ballad History of the Reign of James I," Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc., 3rd ser., V (1911), 49-50 and 54; "[Ballad History in] the Reign of Charles I," Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc., 3rd ser., VI (1912), 20; Van Stockum, The First English Newspapers, passim; Dahl, A Bibliography of Corantos, passim; The Harleian Miscellany (London, 1809), III, 409-420 and 428-453; Davies, "English Political Sermons," pp. 9-13; Bentley, IV, 518.

20The early version of the play was not allowed by Herbert because it showed a Spanish monarch in a bad light at a time when England and Spain were at peace (Bentley, IV, 762). Thus the play may have been an attack on Crown policy; in the absence of the text, however, no confident assertion can be made. In any case, the revised version, as I will try to show, does get a political message across tactfully and, most important of all, safely.

21For ballads and elegies on Gustavus and for the references of Eliot and D'Ewes, see Firth, "[Ballad History in] the Reign of Charles I," pp. 25-26; for corantos, see Dahl, Bibliography, pp. 166 ff.; for the play, see Bentley, III, 250-251.

22See fn. 14, p. 285.

23From the edition of Benjamin Townley Spencer (Princeton, 1932), pp. 91-93.

24C3v. From a Xerox copy of the quarto owned by the Princeton University Library. In connection with this passage, see W. W. Greg, "More Massinger Corrections," The Library, 4th ser., V (1924), 66.

25The play was licensed on 5 June 1638 (see Bentley, IV, 794-795, where the passage is quoted in full). For the dates of the ship money controversy, see Lord Nugent, Memorials of John Hampden, 5th edn. (London, 1908), pp. 101-111.

Source: Allen Gross, "Contemporary Politics in Massinger." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 6, No. 2 (Spring 1966): 279-90.