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A Lecture On Heads   By: (1710-1784?)

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First Page:


By Geo. Alex. Stevens


By Mr. Pilon

AS DELIVERED by Mr. Charles Lee Lewes.


WITH FORTY SEVEN HEADS By Nesbit, From Designs By Thurston.


[Transcriber's Note: Numbers in the text within curly brackets are page numbers.]


There having been several pirated editions published of this Lecture, it is necessary to describe their nature, and to explain the manner in which they were obtained; from which the public will judge, how much they have been imposed upon by the different publishers.

When the Lecture was first exhibited, a very paltry abridgment was published by a bookseller in the city. This edition was so different from the original delivered by Mr. Stevens, that he thought it too contemptible to affect his interest, which alone prevented him from commencing any legal process against the {VI}publisher for thus trespassing on his right and property.

Mr. Stevens, having exhibited his Lecture with most extraordinary success in London, afterwards delivered it, with a continuance of that success, in almost every principal town in England and Ireland. During this itinerant stage of its exhibition, it had received great additions and improvements from the hints and suggestions of Churchill, Howard, Shuter, and many other wits, satirists, and humourists, of that day. It therefore re appeared again in London almost a new performance. This, I suppose, induced another bookseller in the Strand to publish his edition, with notes, written by a Reverend Gentleman: however this might be, Mr. Stevens obtained an injunction against the continuance of that publication; he was dissuaded from proceeding to trial by the interposition of friends, who persuaded the litigants, over a bottle, to terminate their difference; Mr. Stevens withdrew his action, and the publication was suppressed. I relate this circumstance from {VII}the authority of Mr. Stevens himself. The public will, no doubt, be surprised to find that this Lecture should ever have been pirated, by one who is now complaining of a similar act against himself. I am no advocate for any infringements of right or property; but I cannot avoid thinking, that complaints of this nature come with a very ill grace from those who have committed the same species of literary depredations themselves. The last piratical publication of this Lecture was by a stationer in Paternoster Row, who has had the assurance to use my name without having my authority, or even asking my permission. He likewise very falsely and impudently asserts, that he has published it as I spoke it at Covent Garden theatre. It is so much the contrary, that it contains not a syllable of the new matter with which it was then augmented. With respect to the rest, it is taken from the spurious and very imperfect abridgment first mentioned in this piratical list. It is, therefore, evident, that the original Lecture was never before published until this opportunity {VIII}which I have taken of thus submitting it to the Public, for their approbation and patronage, whose

Most humble and devoted servant

I am,


July 22, 1785.


Written By Mr. Pilon Spoken At The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, June 24, 1780.

All's safe here, I find, though the rabble rout A few doors lower burnt the quorum out. Sad times, when Bow street is the scene of riot, And justice cannot keep the parish quiet. But peace returning, like the dove appears, And this association stills my fears; Humour and wit the frolic wing may spread, And we give harmless Lectures on the Head. Watchmen in sleep may be as snug as foxes, And snore away the hours within their boxes; Nor more affright the neighbourhood with warning, Of past twelve o'clock, a troublesome morning. Mynheer demanded, at the general shock, "Is the Bank safe, or has it lower'd the stock?" "Begar," a Frenchman cried, "the Bank we'll rob, "For I have got the purse to bribe the mob... Continue reading book >>

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