Bound with: Advice to a Son. The Second Part. London: printed for Tho. Robinson in Oxford, 1658. 2 vols. in one, 12mo (139 x 83 mm). , 188,  pp., including final ad leaf. Part 2: , 189,  pp. Woodcut initials, type ornaments. Tear in leaf I1 in part 1 with loss to a few words. Contemporary blind-panelled calf (worn, some chips). Provenance: effaced signature on title dated April 1828, notes on front flyleaf in same hand; Robert S. Pirie, bookplate.***
A complete copy, with both parts, of one of the most cynical and entertaining of conduct books. Written by Osborne for his son John, and published anonymously in 1655, the work became an immediate bestseller while arousing energetic controversy. This copy contains a London copy (or counterfeit) of the considerably enlarged sixth edition of the first part, and one of three editions (all 1658) of the Second Part, published to follow up on the success of the original book.
This was Osborne’s principal work. Eminently quotable, his worldly and quite jaded counsels are grouped by subject in chapters titled Studies, Love and Marriage (highly misogynistic), Travel, Government, and Religion. “The book's pragmatism and cynicism may have furthered its rapid acceptance. Its frank and practical aim was to guide the reader to material success in a treacherous, self-seeking world. Popular with Oxford scholars, it enjoyed a wide readership outside the university as well. ... The tone of worldliness in the Advice contributed to Osborne's reputation for atheism. In 1658, after complaints from local ministers that the Advice ‘did instil principles of Atheism into young Gentlemen’, a formal complaint was brought to the vice-chancellor and a proposal put forward to have Osborne's books publicly burned (Wood, History and Antiquities, 2.684). ‘But it taking no effect’, Wood records, ‘July the 27., the vice-cancellor [Dr John Conant] caused all the booksellers to appeare before him, and commanded them not to sell any of Mr. [Francis] Osborne's booke’: as might be expected, ‘The book afterwards sold the more’ (Life and Times of Anthony Wood, 1.257)” (Marie Henson, Oxford DNB).
ESTC R234715 & R234716. Item #2773d