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Flattered and roused, Sir Sampson proposes a marriage contract that promises wealth and property in abundance, providing they have a child together. Angelica's reply sums up the hard-headed Philosophical and Political Context 37 prudence of the new Whig generation: 'Let me consult my Lawyer concerning this Obligation; and if I find what you propose practicable, I'll give you my Answer' [Act 5]. Confronted by Angelica's seeming willingness to marry his own father, Valentine is prepared to admit that his madness was feigned and that he might now just as well sign his father's conveyance, given that his only interest in the estate was as a means to provide for a future life shared with Angelica.

He himself was a dedicated supporter of the Whig cause and the ordered, constitutional vision of government it represented. As one might expect, his plays are firmly grounded in Whig values; they also reflect important aspects of the political debate that had raged throughout the century. The debate centred on the issue of government: the nature, the function, the rights, the privileges and the obligations of government. Charles I's view of government involved him in a single-minded pursuit of a vision of divinely sanctioned kingship.

At some stage in the planning process, Betterton agreed to move with his troupe of actors from Lincoln's Inn Fields to the new theatre on the understanding that he would then relinquish control of the company in favour of Vanbrugh. Betterton's role in the new company is far from certain. But by 1705 he was already 70 years of age and was keen to reduce his work load. There is some evidence that initially he continued to oversee new productions. 1O Congreve agreed to join with Vanbrugh as a patentee of the new theatre, although his projected role in the new company is even less clear.

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