Etherege, Sir George
- John Barnard
Etherege, Sir George (1636–1691/2), playwright and diplomat, was the second child and eldest son of George Etherege (bap. 1607, d. 1650) and his wife, Mary, née Powney (bap. 1612, d. 1699). Etherege's parents were married on 7 October 1634 at Bray, Maidenhead, and the dramatist was probably born in the same parish. Etherege's grandfather, also named George (1576–1658), was a prosperous London vintner who invested in the reorganized Virginian Company (1609) and the Bermuda, or Somers Islands, Company (1615). His name appears in the former's charter as 'George Etheridge, gentleman' (Huseboe, Etherege, 3). In 1625 he inherited a half share in the profits of the lease of the manor of Ives, or Ivy, in Maidenhead. He also bought two farms in Kent worth £40 a year in the name of his sons. Some time after 1628 Etherege's grandfather moved from the parish of St Clement Danes, London, to Bray. His son, known as Captain George Etherege, was sent to manage his father's four shares of land amounting to 98 acres in Paget's Tribe, Bermuda, finally returning shortly before his advantageous marriage to Mary, the twenty-two-year-old daughter of Richard Powney, gentleman, of nearby Old Windsor. Both fathers made generous settlements for the young couple.
In 1636, the same year that his first son was born, Captain George used £300 from his father and £300 from his wife's dowry to purchase a place at court as purveyor to Queen Henrietta Maria. This was 'worth about two hundred pounds per annum before the troubles' (Bracher, Introduction, xiv). When the queen fled to France in 1644, he probably followed her since he died there in 1650. What is certain is that his father continued to support Etherege's mother and her seven children at his Maidenhead house until his death.
The tradition that as a boy Etherege attended Lord William's Grammar School at Thame cannot be verified and is probably mistaken (Bracher, Introduction, xiv). Similarly, the story of his travel to France either as a boy or as a young man, though entirely possible, is not supported by evidence. He nevertheless had a fairly good education. He quotes from Horace in his letters, was well read in English literature and fluent in French: the collection of books he took with him to Europe late in life are those of an educated literary man (Beal, Etherege's reading). Etherege was fourteen when his father died, old enough to experience the upheavals of the civil war and its direct consequences on his family. His mother's second marriage two years later to Christopher Newstead (1597–1660x63), a suspected royalist and formerly, if briefly, chaplain-extraordinary to Charles I (1641), together with Captain George's place in the queen's court, point to a family converting itself over two generations from City tradesmen into minor royalist gentry.
His grandfather's decision in 1654 to apprentice the eighteen-year-old Etherege to the attorney George Gosnold of Beaconsfield and London is further proof of this ambition. Etherege's signature as witness to Gosnold's legal documents, and his admission to Clement's Inn on 19 February 1659 to study law, show him making the normal progression in his profession.
However, by the time he began study at the inns of court Etherege was financially independent, if in a modest way. A family lawsuit (1656–7) over his inheritance had been resolved in his favour and when his grandfather died early in 1658, he came at the age of twenty-two into the possession of the two farms in Kent worth £40 a year.
Dramatist and man about town
The stages in the transformation of Etherege from young lawyer to dramatist and court wit are not well recorded. Copies of his wittily libertine poem, 'The Imperfect Enjoyment', were circulating between 1660 and 1662 (Poems, 78). By 1663 he had made the acquaintance of Lord Buckhurst (later earl of Dorset and an important literary patron). In 1662 the nineteen-year-old Buckhurst narrowly escaped a charge of murder and robbery, and in August of the same year he was apparently planning a translation, with four others, of Corneille's Pompée. In 1664 Etherege dedicated his first play, The Comical Revenge, or, Love in a Tub, to Buckhurst. There he says that the 'Writing of' the play 'was a means to make me known to your Lordship' (Works, 1.2). If so, the four familiar verse epistles which the two men wrote to each other in 1663–4, while Buckhurst was out of London, testify to an already well-established relationship. The poems between the twenty-seven-year-old dramatist and the twenty-year-old aristocrat, of which the two by Etherege are known in five manuscript copies, describe their shared pursuit of prostitutes, wine, and pleasure, and are performances on both sides. Signed simply 'Buckhurst' and 'Etherege', a clear proof of Etherege's acceptance in Buckhurst's circle, the verse letters are representative of a group of self-consciously transgressive rakes, transgressive both in vocabulary and sexual openness, for whom masculine camaraderie overrode fine distinctions of rank. But, as in later escapades, Etherege was the older, and probably more experienced, man.
The mores of this small, outrageous, and socially protected group of young libertines is reflected in the character of Sir Frederick Frollick, the hero of The Comical Revenge. The play was acted by the Duke's Company at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre. It was licensed and registered on 8 July 1664 and published, probably shortly thereafter, by Henry Herringman, who specialized in court literature, from his shop in the Lower Walk of the fashionable New Exchange. The exact date of the première is unknown, but Evelyn attended a performance on 27 April 1664, so that it was most likely first acted earlier in April. The cast was a strong one and the production was a succès d'estime. John Downes, its prompter, later recalled, 'The clean and well performance of this Comedy, got the Company more Reputation and Profit than any preceding Comedy; the Company taking in a Months time at it 1000l' (Downes, ed. Milhous and Hume, 25). If so, the play must have monopolized the theatre for a month. Its unprecedented success for the Duke's Players came from the realism of the characters and setting but, above all, from the language in the comic plot, which was supported by an aristocratic love story (in rhymed heroic verse). It established Etherege at twenty-eight as a court wit, author, and man about town in a circle which now included Rochester and the duke of Buckingham as well as Buckhurst and Sedley.
Little is known about Etherege for the next four years. By March 1665 he had addressed a complimentary poem 'To her Excellence the Marchioness of Newcastle after the Reading of her Incomparable Poems' (Poems, 90), probably in the hope of some form of patronage from her husband. Other of his verses were circulating in manuscript: one poem, 'To a Lady, Asking him how Long he would Love her', was set to music for three voices by Matthew Locke, Charles II's composer-in-ordinary since 1661, and published in the latest version of John Playford's songbook, Catch as Catch can (1667, 194–5). Otherwise, Etherege was no doubt womanizing, gambling, and drinking.
Etherege's second play, She wou'd if she cou'd, a Comedy, was first performed on 6 February 1668, again by the Duke's Company at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Herringman, who registered the play on 24 June, was once more Etherege's publisher. Despite a strong cast and a capacity audience, the first performance was disastrous. The king was in the audience along with much of the court. Pepys reports the scene as the audience remained in the theatre sheltering from the rain:
and among the rest, here was the duke of Buckingham today openly sat in the pit; and there I found him with my Lord Buckhurst and Sidley and Etherige the poett—the last of whom I did hear mightily find fault with the Actors, that they were out of humour, and had not their parts perfect, and that Harris [who played the comic role of Sir Joslin Jolly] did do nothing, nor could do so much as sing a Ketch in it, and so was mightily concerned: which all the rest did through the whole pit blame the play as a silly, dull thing, though there was something very roguish and witty; but the design of the play, and end, mighty insipid.
This account is supported by Shadwell's 'Preface' to The Humorists (1671), in which he adds 'that, had it not been for the favour of the Court, in all probability it had never got up again; and it suffers for it in great measure, to this very day' (sig. π4a). In the end the play 'took well' (Downes, ed. Milhous and Hume, 29) and held its place in the repertory until the mid-eighteenth century.
Etherege, who styled himself 'Esq.' on the comedy's title-page, further benefited from royal favour. Early in 1668 he was appointed as one of the forty gentlemen of the privy chamber-in-ordinary, who waited on the king, and was made secretary to the newly appointed (and knighted) ambassador to Turkey, the Levant merchant Sir Daniel Harvey. The Turkish embassy was the country's most prestigious in rank and salary, bringing the secretary £200 a year. Etherege remained in Turkey almost three years. Although he was bored away from London, he was a shrewd and intelligent observer, who fulfilled his diplomatic role effectively, accompanying Sir Daniel to his audience with the grand signor on 30 November 1669 (Fujimura, 476–8). In July 1670 he fell ill, and left Constantinople in spring 1671. By May 1671 he was in Paris, where his wit amused the English company, before returning to London.
Etherege was by now thirty-five. His habits had not changed. In September 1671 he had an abortive duel 'within the rayles of Covent Garden' with Edmund Ashton (Brett-Smith, 1.xx; Bracher, Introduction, xvii). That autumn he also wrote 'A Prologue Spoken at the Opening of the Duke's New Playhouse'. The new theatre at Dorset Gardens was built for Betterton's company and opened on 9 November 1671 with a performance of Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-All, originally played at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre in 1667. In the meantime, three of Etherege's poems had been printed in a verse miscellany, The New Academy of Complements (1669), and nine more appeared shortly after in A Collection of Poems, Written on Several Occasions (1672). He is unlikely to have had any hand in their publication, regarding himself as a gentleman writer, but that did not preclude a long friendship with Thomas Betterton (1635–1710), actor–manager of the Duke's Company who had taken important roles in Etherege's plays. By 1676 he appears to have been in the service of Mary of Modena, duchess of York and wife of the future James II. In the 'Dedication' to The Man of Mode Etherege writes, 'I hope the honour I have of belonging to You, will excuse my presumption', claiming that his new comedy is 'the first thing I have produc'd in Your Service' (Works, 2.183). The first recorded performance, which may also have been the première, of Etherege's third and last play, The Man of Mode, or, Sir Fopling Flutter, was acted before the king on 11 March 1676 at the Dorset Gardens Theatre. The king's presence at this performance, that of his court at later performances, along with Sir Car Scrope's prologue and song, Dryden's epilogue, and the printed dedication to the duchess of York, all testify to the court-centred ethos of Etherege's comedy. The play was licensed on 3 June and published by Herringman, probably shortly thereafter.
It was an immediate and lasting success. The strong cast included Betterton as the lead character, Dorimant, with his wife playing Bellinda, while the young Mrs Barry probably took the part of Mrs Loveit. Downes remembered that 'this Comedy being well Cloath'd and well Acted, got a great deal of Money' (Downes, ed. Milhous and Hume, 39). Etherege's characters were immediately regarded as portraits of living people. Although Dorimant has been most frequently identified with Rochester, at the time he was also seen as representing the duke of Monmouth (and his affair with Moll Kirke) or alternatively as Buckhurst. Sir Fopling was variously believed to be based on Edward Villiers, ‘Beau’ Hewitt, or Etherege himself (see J. Spence, Observations, ed. J. M. Osborn, 1966, 2.638). Looking back in 1722, John Dennis was to claim that Etherege's play was 'well receiv'd, and believ'd by the people of England to be the most agreeable Comedy for about Half a Century' (Dennis, 2.243).
In the same summer Etherege was involved in the notorious episode of Rochester's attack on the watch at Epsom. Despite the playwright's efforts as peacemaker, a bystander, Mr Downs, was killed, and Rochester, Captain Bridges, and Etherege had to abscond (Correspondence of the Family of Hatton … 1601–1704, ed. E. M. Thompson, Camden Society, new ser., 22, 1878, 133–4). Once again Etherege was the older man, forty to Rochester's late twenties. Not long after, in December 1677, Fleetwood Shepherd was 'run with a sword under the eye endeavouring to part Buckley and Etheridge squabbling in a taverne' (Brett-Smith, 1.xxvii–viii).
At some point between November 1677 and 1679 Etherege acquired a knighthood and was married. It was rumoured that the dramatist bought his knighthood in order to marry a 'rich old widow' (Brett-Smith, 1.xxviii–ix). Mary Arnold, née Sheppard (d. 1691/2), was the daughter of a London merchant, from whom she inherited £100 and half his goods and household stuffs. At some point before 1648 she had married Edmund Arnold, a successful London lawyer, on whose death in 1676 she inherited a further £600 together with £240 in annual rents and profits from the manor of Furthoe in Northamptonshire (Bracher, Introduction, xvii). As the first of her two sons, who both died as children, was baptized in August 1648, she was probably in her mid- or late forties when she married the somewhat younger Etherege (Nichol, 419–22). The tone of Etherege's one extant letter to her suggests that there was some coldness on her side (13 March 1687, Letters, 100), though the couple went to law together in 1687 to recover £300 which she had lent to a London skinner, John Rowley, while she was still a widow.
Etherege's passion for gambling is well attested. Looking back on his London life, he wrote to the earl of Sunderland, 'I can assure your Lordship that I find I can live without play, a thing my best Freinds will hardly believe' (3 Dec 1685, Letters, 12), and he had always placed women and gambling above the pleasures of wine (Mr Dryden's Letter to Sir George Etherege, ll. 53–4). Satires of the early 1680s describe him as suffering both from the pox and from an ageing wife, and if the 'Sr Fopling' depicted in Thomas Wood's Juvenalis redivivus (1683) is Sir George, he was not only gambling away 'Grannum's old Gold' at Locket's while leaving his 'Lowsy Footmen' unpaid, but had to flee the country. His 'Song on Basset' celebrating the new card game introduced to England in 1677, which he had played at the duchess of Mazarine's London house (Poems, 11–12, 86), gives credence to these charges.
Etherege nevertheless remained in the duke of York's favour. He is listed as one of the pensioners in his household in September 1682 at £100 a year, and when James became king in 1685, Sir George was swiftly appointed to the post of resident at Ratisbon (Regensburg, Bavaria). He reached Regensburg on 21 November 1685 after a leisurely journey, which included a stay at The Hague.
His personal, social, and diplomatic life for the next four years is the most fully recorded part of Etherege's life, or that of any other Restoration writer. Not only are many of his personal letters preserved but no fewer than six versions of his letter-books were made (two of which are unlocated). The multiplicity of manuscript texts of his official correspondence reveals the complications of the political world into which Etherege had moved. Etherege's official copy of the letter-books is now at Harvard and has been edited by Bracher (1974). These two volumes were transcribed by Etherege's secretary, Hugo Hughes, with Etherege's autograph corrections. Unknown to his master, Hughes was transcribing parts of Etherege's official letters along with excerpts from his personal correspondence with a view to discrediting his employer's professional integrity with his superiors. Hughes disapproved equally of the resident's rakish lifestyle and his pro-Stuart politics. The resulting manuscript is now in the British Library, and has been transcribed and edited by Rosenfeld (1928). Hughes, along with associates in England and the Dutch representative at the diet, Pierre Valkenier, was part of the whig and protestant plan to replace the Catholic James II with William of Orange. The three other extant versions of the letter-books were further copies for Hughes's allies or were made by them. Peter Beal found a further cache of Etherege's papers left behind at Regensburg when he gave up his post in 1689. These include some 116 letters to Etherege, substantially filling out the printed correspondence and papers (Beal, Index, 446–68). They are unpublished, but are described by Beal and throw important light on Etherege's performance as a diplomat.
Etherege's post as resident at the German imperial diet at Regensburg was the lowest rank in the diplomatic service. His role was purely that of an observer with no official powers to treat with the other envoys there. His duties were to write dispatches to his immediate superior, Lord Middleton, reporting any developments, and to send on any political news he could pick up, while representing his king with appropriate dignity. All of this depended on establishing good relations with the other diplomats at Regensburg. Although Etherege was efficient at reporting to the secretary of state, generally twice a week, the first year of his mission was, to the delight of Hugo Hughes, unfortunate. Even before reaching Regensburg, Etherege had, Hughes reported, lost £250 gambling at The Hague, and went on to caress 'every dirty Drab that came in his way from Holland to this place' (Letters, 292). Once in Regensburg, Etherege refurbished the lodgings of the previous resident, Edwin Poley, and established his household, but he was once more bored away from London and oppressed by the stiff formality of his fellow diplomats. He wrote, 'London is dull by accident, but Ratisbonne by Nature' (ibid., 153). Hughes reported on the new resident's gambling, his drunken brawls, and the very public affair with a travelling actress from Nuremburg (ibid., 299–303) which scandalized the local community and only ended when Etherege ran out of money. According to Hughes, Etherege had destroyed his credibility as a diplomat.
However, in spring 1687 Etherege found that his reputation in Paris, Vienna, and London was being threatened by letters written by the count of Windischgratz, the emperor's co-commissioner. Thereafter he mended fences and took his duties increasingly seriously. Etherege's diplomatic post, traditionally regarded as an unimportant one, was certainly taken seriously in England. Sir Gabriel Sylvius told him as early as 11 January 1686, 'You are got into a station, where there is more to be done, & more to bee seen than in all Europe besides' (Beal, Index, 447). This analysis cannot have applied to the diet itself, which had been meeting in Regensburg since 1663, and which, as Etherege complained, never did anything. Rather, its importance lay in the opportunity it gave for gathering intelligence. The eagerness with which his dispatches were awaited in London by July 1688 is indicative of his professional success in this respect.
Apart from his diplomatic duties, Etherege employed musicians, a fencing-master and a dancing-master, played tennis, and went hunting. He also had a library of at least sixty-four titles and over ninety volumes, including Dryden's The Hind and the Panther (1687), while letters from England kept him up with the news. Etherege was to claim that his creative imagination had deserted him, but the two familiar verse letters he wrote to Lord Middleton at some time between January and April 1686 (Poems, 115) as supplements to his official dispatches, show his abilities in this male verse genre to be undiminished. They, as much as Dryden's verse letter in response, demonstrate his intelligent playfulness, but at the same time express the nostalgia for his past in London which appears in his letter to John Cooke, written on 28 November 1687:
You can do no less than pitty me who have been forc'd from the shoar of delightfull Thames to be confin'd to live on the banks of the unwholesome Danube where we have been this moneth choak'd with fogs, and cannot now set a foot out of doors, without being up to the knee in snow.Letterbook, 293
The bawdy verse letters to Middleton, his friend and immediate superior, like his similar exchanges with Buckhurst in the early 1660s, say much about the way in which Etherege's literary gifts helped his career at key stages. And this applied as much to the former duke of York. In December 1685 the continuing popularity at court of The Man of Mode led James II to hope Etherege would write another comedy, an expectation which had turned into a request by 5 March 1686, communicated to him by Lord Middleton:
Since you made no answer to what the King had commanded me to acquaint you with, I mean your writing a play, I should not have troubled you with it, if his Majesty had not again renewd his commands in that matter, so that I must tell you, he does seriously expect it from you.Beal, Index, 447
But Etherege had given up writing plays. As he told Buckhurst, now earl of Dorset, on 27 February 1687, he had 'lost for want of exercise the use of fancy imagination' (Letterbook, 239).
But if he would not write a comedy for his king, Etherege remained deeply loyal to the Stuart cause against his better interests. At considerable expense he organized elaborate celebrations for the birth of the prince of Wales on 6 July 1688. Festivities began with a 'Te Deum' at the Scottish Benedictine monastery on Sunday 25 July, followed by a dinner for the ministers at the diet in Etherege's second residence at the Wildische Haus (now 3/4 Arnulfplatz), and continued for another two days (Letters, 214–16, 279–85; Beal, Index, 446). But his dispatches to England were desperately urging Middleton and Sunderland to warn the king of the seriousness of the Williamite plans to force him to give up the throne in favour of a protestant succession. By now, however, it was too late, and James II fled England on 23 December 1688. On 18 January 1689 Etherege learned that James had arrived in Paris. Shortly after, he left Regensburg to join the Stuart court in exile just as his father before him had done, and reached Paris by 20 February. It may be that he could not have returned to London because of debts. Although there is no record of his membership of James's court, Abbot Fleming was put in charge of his affairs in Regensburg by James on 20 July 1689. There were rumours in February 1691 that he had died in Paris, but his nephew, George, later testified that he had died there 'on or about' 10 May 1692 without issue (Bracher, Introduction, xxiii). He probably died a Catholic: his friend Abbot Placidus Fleming added against Etherege's name in the monastery's syllabus of benefactors 'Obiit Parisiis factus Catholicus', though there is no further evidence of Etherege's surprising conversion.
No portrait of Etherege is known. The adjectives with which Etherege was characterized by his contemporaries, 'easy' and 'gentle', seem to have described not only his literary style but also his social behaviour. Writing some sixty years later, William Oldys cited the account of Etherege given him by the veteran actor John Bowman (c.1651–1739), who had been a member of the Duke's Company:
Sir George was, in his person, a fair, slender, genteel man; but spoiled his countenance with drinking and other habits of intemperance; and in his deportment, very affable and courteous, of a sprightly and generous temper; which with his free, lively, and natural vein of writing, acquired him the general character of Gentle George and Easy Etherege.Biographia Britannica, 3.844
This fits well enough with the man as he appears in his letters and his early association with Buckhurst and Sedley. However, one story, again one which was reported at second hand after his death, suggests that his gentility depended heavily on a strong sense of his own class and gender. Birch reported that he had been told by Otway of a dispute at Locket's when
some Company there, who were highly incensed at some ill manage of their Entertainment or attendance, were all in a violent Passion with the waiters, so that Mrs Locket came up; when Sr Geo. told her they were so provoked that he could find it in his Heart to pull the Nosegay out of her Bosom and throw the flowers in her Face, wch turned all their anger to a Jest.Brett-Smith, 7.xxxi n. 3
One feature of Etherege's character agreed on by himself, his friends, and his enemies, was his laziness. The eight-year gap between his second and third comedies, despite his having 'more fancy, sense, judgement and wit' than any of his contemporaries, was attributed by the author of 'A Session of the Poets' (1676) to his 'crying sin idleness' (Poems on Affairs of State, 1.353). Years later Etherege was provoked by Dryden's verse letter to him in Regensburg to assert his own pre-eminence in laziness. 'If you persist in your claim to Laziness, you will be thought as affected in it as Montaigne is, when he complaines of want of memory', he wrote on 20 March 1687, continuing 'I (whose every action of my life is as a witness of my Idleness) little thought that you … durst have set up to be my Rival' (Letters, 102–3). Yet judging by the regularity of his diplomatic correspondence from Regensburg he was less lazy than content to place a premium on pleasure, whether in women, gaming, or male friendship, if these had to be set against the demands of business. Dryden was indeed an immensely hard-working and ambitious poet and author: for Etherege, writing, whether of letters, verse, or plays, was a way to preferment and social recognition. Only in that sense was he a gentleman who wrote with ease. Failure to raise, and to maintain, the interest of his superiors in rank and position through his writing would have foreclosed the success of his diplomatic career.
The importance of Etherege's role at Regensburg has been traditionally underrated. Yet even though his correspondence proves the seriousness with which he undertook the actual work required of him, his letters have real value if read as literature. The virtues of his letters, official and unofficial, are those of clarity, liveliness, and immediacy, based on shrewd (and amused) observation of Regensburg society, all expressed through a style which approximates to a colloquial spoken language. Dryden, himself a master of prose, was not flattering Etherege when he said 'I will never enter the lists in Prose with the undoubted best author of it which our nation has produced' (Letters, 276).
It is precisely that ability to catch vernacular speech in a variety of linguistic registers, from tradesmen and servants to young men and women about town (as well as their unfashionable elders), which at once distinguished his ‘talking plays’ from his immediately contemporary rivals, and pointed the way for subsequent writers of Restoration comedy. Yet for all the early objections that his plays lacked 'plot' his three plays catch the moment of a rebellious younger generation opposed to relationships between the sexes based merely on interest. At the same time, in particular The Man of Mode, they give a sceptical analysis of the stresses between libertinage, love, sexuality, and money. His final commitment to the exiled James II, and his probable last-minute conversion to Catholicism, suggest that in the final analysis Etherege may have been as much an idealist as a cynic.
- The dramatic works of Sir George Etherege, ed. H. F. B. Brett-Smith, 2 vols. (1927)
- The poems of Sir George Etherege, ed. J. Thorpe (1963)
- The letterbook of Sir George Etherege, ed. S. Rosenfeld (1928)
- Letters of Sir George Etherege, ed. F. Bracher (1974)
- P. Beal and others, Index of English literary manuscripts, ed. P. J. Croft and others, [4 vols. in 11 pts] (1980–), vol. 2, pt 1, pp. 443–59
- P. Beal, ‘“The most constant and best entertainment”: Sir George Etherege's reading in Ratisbon’, The Library, 6th ser., 10 (1988), 122–44
- Biographia Britannica, or, The lives of the most eminent persons who have flourished in Great Britain and Ireland, 3 (1750), 841–9 [account of Etherege by William Oldys]
- F. Bracher, ‘Etherege as a diplomat’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 17 (1969), 45–60
- F. Bracher, ‘Etherege at Clement's Inn’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 43 (1979–80), 127–34
- J. Dennis, ‘A defence of Sir Fopling Flutter, a comedy written by Sir George Etheridge’, The critical works of John Dennis, ed. E. N. Hooker, 2 (1943), 241–50
- J. Downes, Roscius Anglicanus, or, An historical review of the stage (1708)
- T. Fujimura, ‘Etherege at Constantinople’, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 72 (1956), 465–81
- B. Harris, Charles Sackville, sixth earl of Dorset: patron and poet of the Restoration (1940)
- A. R. Huseboe, ‘The mother of Sir George Etherege’, N&Q, 220 (1975), 262–4
- A. R. Huseboe, Sir George Etherege (1987) [Huseboe lists the important ser. of articles and notes by D. Foster based on archival research into Etherege and his family, and pubd between 1922 and 1932 on p. 135.]
- W. Van Lennep, ed., The London stage, 1660–1800, pt 1: 1660–1700 (1965)
- J. W. Nichol, ‘Dame Mary Etherege’, Modern Language Notes, 64 (1949), 419–22
- G. de F. Lord and others, eds., Poems on affairs of state: Augustan satirical verse, 1660–1714, 7 vols. (1963–75), vol. 1
- F. Bracher, introduction, in Letters of Sir George Etherege, ed. F. Bracher (1974), xi–xxv
- H. F. B. Brett-Smith, ‘Introduction’, The dramatic works of Sir George Etherege, ed. H. F. B. Brett-Smith, 2 vols. (1927), 1.xi–lxxxiii
- S. Rosenfeld, ‘Introduction’, The letterbook of Sir George Etherege, ed. S. Rosenfeld (1928), 1–51
- Bischöflicher Zentralbibliothek und Zentralarchiv, Regensburg, MSS
- BL, letter-book, Add. MS 11513
- BL, letters to the secretary of state, Add. MSS 41836–41837, 41840–41841
- Bodl. Oxf., MSS
- Harvard TC, MSS
- Harvard U., Houghton L., letter-books
- TNA: PRO, MSS, SP 9/19, SP 81/86
- U. Birm., letter-book
- Berks. RO, Trumbull corresp.
- Yale U., Osborn collection, Poley MSS, MSS