An Edinburgh-printed edition of Archibald Campbell, the Marquess of Argyll's conduct book, addressed to his son, and written while confined in the Tower of London. The Marquess had been charged and tried for complicity in the death of Charles I, a crime for which he was acquitted. But epistolary evidence, in the Marquess's own hand, soon came to light, strongly suggesting his guilt in other political subterfuge, and he was immediately arrested again and confined to Tolbooth Prison in Edinburgh. Between incarcerations, the Marquess had evidently entrusted his manuscript of the Instructions to a friend, who composed the a lectori, and who celebrates the Marquess's plain-spoken language, his love for his children, and his ethical probity. The friend also advises that certain Scottish colloquialisms in the original manuscript have been rendered in English for the printed edition, so as not to confuse and upset the King's anglophone subjects. The Marquess's book is divided into two parts: Instructions to a Son, and Maxims of State; the latter has a divisional title page. The instructions proper is prefaced with an introduction addressed to his eldest son, Archibald Campbell, then 32, followed by a shorter address to "the rest of his children." At the time of his death, the Marquess had five children younger than Archibald: Jean, 31; Neil, 29; Anne, 25; Mary, 21, and Isabella, 11. The Instructions does not follow the model of a speculum principum, or mirror of princes, which prepares a young person for life as a regent, politician, or general, but rather comprises workaday advice on how to avoid moral bankruptcy. The Marquess cautions against gambling, sleeping late, idleness, drinking, braggadocio, whoring. He urges calm, thoughtfulness, and reticence in all situations, and the application of ethical logic to thorny issues. Above all, he advises, be a model to your siblings, and to all young people.The Instructions is not composed with the kind of urgency and literary haste that usually attends the writings of the condemned; the Marquess probably had every reason to believe he would be acquitted when initially confined to the Tower. And he was. But after his second arrest, there was no time for him to write anything more: before the King could even sign the Marquess's death warrant, he was whisked of to the gibbet, and was quickly abbreviated by The Maiden, the highly efficient beheading machine in use in Scotland from the 1560s until 1716. We ruefully note that if the Marquess's son ever read his father's conduct book, he must not have taken it to heart: not only did he enter politics, he became embroiled in intrigue, and on June 30th, 1685, met with precisely the same fate as his father.
London: D. Trench, 1661.
12mo, 146 x 88 x 15 mm (binding), 143 x 85 x 12 mm (text block). A4 B-G8 I4 , 177,  pp. Late nineteenth-century maroon long-grain morocco gilt by Joseph Zaehnsdorf, titled in tilt on second compartment and dated 1661 to tail. Interior: Minor stains passim; last leaf with closed marginal tear, not near text; a few pencil underlinings and ink hatchmarks, otherwise fine.
The copy of Scottish industrialist Robert Tyndall Hamilton Bruce, with his gilt lion rampant to both covers, and gilt printed ex libris bound in after made free end.
ESTC R32717; Wing A3656; Sloane, William, "Some Plagiarisms in 17th Century Books of Advice to Children," Modern Language Notes, Vol. 55, No. 6; JHUP: 1940, pp. 416-8. This cataloguer notes here that no systematic bibliography of prison writings exists, and is presently seeking to remedy this, with the in-progress-yet-unlikely-to-ever-be-finished reference titled Bibliography of Works Composed in Prisons, Dungeons, and Asylums Before 1700, which provides provisional reference number C-191 to the present work.