the 2015 reprint edition of
William Frederick Pinchbeck
Preface to this edition
The Reprint Series of Porkopolis.org is a collection of significant, but difficult to find, pig-themed print materials. Providing reprints with accurate and searchable content is the goal of this project. That is coupled with a presentation format that provides some of the experience and enjoyment of reading the original document, while updating the content to contemporary presentation techniques.
For this reproduction of THE EXPOSITOR various typographical styles and bookbinder or printer techniques used in the original text have been removed or converted to modern forms. This was done in order to format this work in compliance with Reprint Series of Porkopolis.org style concerns. This has resulted in no loss of the original content.
Here is a list of the conversions and deletions:
- removed: catchwords – placed at the foot of printed pages and duplicating the first word of the following page and meant to help the bookbinder or printer make sure that the pages were set up and bound in the correct order.
- removed: signature marks – letters, numbers or combinations printed at the bottom of the first page of a book’s signature or section to ensure that the bookbinder can keep the pages and sections in their correct order.
- converted: the long ‘s’ typographical form – where the lower case ‘s’, that is neither capitalized nor terminating a word, is printed similarly to a lower case ‘f’ but without having an ‘f’-like nub at its middle, or on the left side only.
- converted: the use of typographic ligatures – where two or more letters are joined as a single glyph. Included are these character sequences ‘ff’, ‘fi’, ‘ft’, ‘ffi’, ‘fft’ and ‘ct’.
- converted: bars, rules, dingbats and lowercase numerals with ascenders and descenders were not removed, but were replaced with less complex forms that were easily reproducible.
- converted: words hyphenated at the end of a page with the remainder of the word carried over to the next page have been combined and the complete word is now the last word on the page where the hyphenation began.
I hope that everyone finds something here that is informative, meaningful, enjoyable or that provokes future contemplation of pigs or ourselves.
Your humble servant,
Daniel E. Schultz,
Porkopolis.org Editor, Curator and Swineherd
The PIG of KNOWLEDGE ! !
To be wise observe ; for observation is the source of knowledge.
MANY MYSTERIES UNRAVELLED.
In a Series of Letters, between a Friend and his Correspondent.
THE LEARNED PIG, —INVISIBLE LADY AND ACOUSTIC TEMPLE, —PHILOSOPHICAL SWAN, —PENETRATING SPY GLASSES, OPTICAL AND MAGNETIC,
Various other Curiosities on similar Principles :
A few of the most wonderful Feats as performed by the Art of Legerdemain :
Some Reflections on Ventriloquism.
By WILLIAM FREDERICK PINCHBECK.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR.
District of Massachusetts, to wit.
Be it remembered, that on the sixteenth day of January, in the twenty-ninth year of the Independence of the United States of America, William Frederick Pinchbeck, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author, in the words following, to wit : — “The Expositor, or Many Mysteries Unravelled. Delineated in a series of Letters, between a Friend and his Correspondent. Comprising the Learned Pig, —Invisible Lady and Acoustic Temple, —Philosophical Swan, —Penetrating Spy Glasses, optical and magnetic, and various other Curiosities on similar Principles : Also, a few of the most wonderful Feats as performed by the Art of Legerdemain : With some Reflections on Ventriloquism. By William Frederick Pinchbeck.”
In Conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned ;” and also to an Act, entitled, “An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned ; and extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching, Historical and other Prints.”
N. GOODALE, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
A true Copy of Record. Attest :
N. GOODALE, Clerk.
To the Public.
The intention of this work was not only to amuse and instruct, but also to convince superstition of her many ridiculous errors, —to shew the disadvantages arising to society from a vague as well as irrational belief of man’s intimacy with familiar spirits, —to oppose the idea of supernatural agency in any production of man, —and lastly, how dangerous such a belief is to society, how destructive to the improvement of the human capacity, and how totally ruinous to the common interests of mankind. To effect this design, as well as thoroughly and pleasingly to expound those once-thought mysteries the book contains, it has ever appeared to me no form was so adequate to the purpose as a series of letters.
As a writer, I pretend to no particular merits, nor can I clothe my sentiments in the luxuriant robes of a distinguished fancy, but only in unvarnished narrative unfold dexterities (merely the effects of human
ingenuity) which have so long astonished the world.
The feats of which these letters give an account, are facts, and the definition of them implicitly correct ; and on this the Author has founded the value of his book. Surely what is given by the inventor of some, and who has had ocular demonstration of the other feats, comprising the contents of these sheets, must admit of some certainty ; and I positively affirm, that whatever I profess to define is done with honesty, and as accurately as practice and experience has determined to be just. On this principle, the estimation and success of the work is submitted to the candor of a liberal and enlightened public,
By their humble Servant,
☞ As the public curiosity may be excited at the suppression of the dates and places whence my friend wrote his letters, as also the concealment of his name, —I would only say that these omissions were considered as unessential to the work.
- Method of teaching the Pig—from Letter I. to IX. See also Letter V. Appendix.
- Principles of the Acoustic Temple—from Letter LETTER IX. to XIV. See also Letter II. Appendix.
- A Demonstration of the philosophical Swan—Letter XV.
- A Demonstration of the Manner how a Gun is to be discharged at a Person previously loaded with Powder and Ball, the Person catching the Ball on the Point of a Dagger—Letter XV. See also Letter II. Appendix.
- A Demonstration how a Card fastened to a Table with a Fork changes its situation—Letter XVII.
- A Demonstration how Knives and Forks are swallowed—ditto.
- A Demonstration of the Manner of breaking a Watch and restoring it to its former State—ditto.
- A Demonstration how Eggs are transformed into Pan-Cakes—Letter XVIII.
- How Dollars apparently sink through a Table—ditto.
- Reflections on Ventriloquism—ditto.
- Abilities necessary to a Performer of the Art of Legerdemain—Letter XX.
- Further Opinions on Ventriloquism—Letter XXII.
- How to take a Number of Eggs from a Bag apparently empty—Letter XXIV.
- How to make the Ace of Hearts become the Ace of Clubs, and vice versa—ditto.
- How to burn a Card to Ashes, and restore it to its former State—ditto.
- How to light a Candle with the Point of a Sword—ditto.
- How to transfer Money from one Handkerchief to another—ditto.
- How to fire a Lady’s Ring from a Gun in such a Manner, that the same shall be found confined under Lock and Key, one of the Company taking the Key—Letter XXV.
- How to make a Handkerchief belonging to one of the Company follow the Exhibitor out of the Room—Letter XXVIII.
- How to convey a Card into an Egg—ditto.
- Magnetic optical Spy-Glass—Letter XXIX.
Penetrating optical do. do XXIX.
- Observations on the Situation of an Author— Letter IV. Appendix.
- Reflections on the dangerous Tendency of Superstition—Letter V. Appendix.
From A. B. to W. F. P.
In my last I informed you of my indisposition ; but, thank Providence, I am now perfectly recovered : The journey and change of air has no doubt facilitated that recovery.
Wherever I stop on my tour, I am sure to hear of the fame of your celebrated Pig, and the many different opinions prevailing relative to the mode of his tuition, makes him a subject of general speculation. Some contend it is witchcraft ; and others, like the ancient Pythagoreans, believing in the transmigration of souls, conclude that the spirit of the grunting philosopher might once have animated a man.
An evening or two since, stopping at an inn, your Pig being the topic of conversation, I could not but listen to a grave old gentleman, who, putting on a very affected, sage like look, declared his performances were the effects of the Black Art ; that the Pig ought to be burnt, and the Man banished, as he had no doubt but you familiarly corresponded with the devil. 0 monstrous ! will time and experience never remove such credulity from the earth ? Must ingenuity, the parent of manufactories, the progressive pillar to wisdom and the arts, whose summit supports a mirror where superstition may see her own gorgon image, be thus broken and overturned by the rude hands of ignorance and pride ? We rejoice that we live in an enlightened part of the world, where liberty extend her choicest blessings, and where the Presiding Magistrate is a philosopher, and under his patronage men of talents dare to be such ; and these absurd opinions are but the dogmas of devotees and folly.