29 Mar 2006, 4:58 a.m. - Terry Foreman

Osborne, Francis, 1593-1659. Advice to a son; or, directions for your better conduct through the various and most important encounters of this life. London [1656, etc] . "Osborne’s philosophy of life is that of his friend, Thomas Hobbes; in this popular book he displays much contempt for universities and those long resident in them, and is without any belief whatever in a gentleman’s need for 'learning' as usually acquired." http://www.bartleby.com/219/1512.html "Osborne ...shows us....that the rhetoric of utility was making progress.... He makes it clear that no study is worthwhile unless it will lead to profit, and that mathematics *is* such a useful skill. He also, however, describes the depth of the older feelings against mathematics, stating 'my memory reacheth the time, when the Generality of People thought her most usefull branches; spels, and her Professers, Limbs of the Devill', and he adds that when Oxford created a chair of mathematics, 'Not a few of our then foolish Gentry, refusing to send their sons thither, lest they should be smutted by the Black Arts'. The accuracy of Osborne’s recollection is confirmed in a letter of James, Lord Ogilvy to his grandson, written in 1605, in which he worries about young scholars at the university becoming involved with 'magick' and 'necromancy' which are 'the greatest sins against God that can be ...'." http://www.shpltd.co.uk/neal-rhetoric.pdf "The author...was master of the horse to Shakespeare’s patron William Herbert, earl of Pembroke...his Advice to a Son...went through numerous editions. It is a strange admixture of platitude and paradox, much of which might have come straight from the lips of Polonius. The style, when it is not terse and apophthegmatic, as of one trying to imitate Bacon, is stiff with conceits and long-winded sentences." http://www.bartleby.com/218/1612.html

29 Mar 2006, 9:42 a.m. - Terry Foreman

Osborne’s ‘Advice to a Son’ was an example of "a literature devoted to 'the doctrine of Courtesy,' of which Castiglione’s *Il Cortegiano* (1528) 13 may be regarded as the original, and Henry Peacham’s Compleat Gentleman (1622 and frequently reprinted with additions) the most popular English exemplar." (More at http://www.bartleby.com/219/1512.html ) Osborne’s ‘Advice to a Son’ laid out a practical curriculum that might appeal to one not apt for university - as were some sons of tradesmen - who nevertheless aspired to become a gentleman.

6 Apr 2006, 1:25 a.m. - JWB

Dorothy Osborne, Francis' niece An edited collection of her mid 17th C. letters: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/osborne/letters/letters.html

6 Apr 2006, 6:48 a.m. - Terry Foreman

Ref. Osborn, Francis, in this Encylopedia, where the annotations detail the content and style of his 'Advice to a Son' http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1848/

19 Oct 2015, 1:20 p.m. - Bill

This book is available on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=WDc1AAAAMAAJ

11 Jun 2016, 2:51 a.m. - Terry Foreman

Advice to a son; or Directions for your better conduct through the various and most important encounters of this life. Vnder these generall heads I. Studies &c. II. Love and marriage. III. Travell. IV. Government. V. Religion. Conclusion. Osborne, Francis, 1593-1659. Oxford.: Printed by Hen: Hall printer to the University, for Thomas Robinson, 1656. [i.e. 1655] Early English Books Online [full text] http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A90197.0001.001?view=toc


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Apr