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Breslaw's Last Legacy

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Breslaw's Last Legacy; Or the Magical Companion: Containing All that is Curious, Pleasing, Entertaining, and Comical; ... Including the Various Exhibitions of Those Wonderful Artists: Breslaw, Sieur Comus, Jonas, &c. ... With an Accurate Description of the Method how to Make the Air Balloon ... was a book inspired by Philip Breslaw and published in 1784.

Breslaw's Last Legacy
AuthorPhilip Breslaw
Publication Date1784

Based on the number of editions published, Breslaw's Last Legacy ranks as one of the most popular antiquarian magic books published in English.

Items described include bringing a dead fly back to life, making your companions appear hideous, pulling off a person's shirt without undressing him and making a selected card jump out of the pack.

"Breslaw may have compiled the eighteenth-century editions ... It is clear, however, that he was not responsible for the many small pamphlets of the same title published in the early nineteenth century." -- Trevor Hall in Old Conjuring Books.


  • First edition (1784)
  • Second edition (1784)
  • Fifth edition London, W. Lane (1791)
  • Breslaw's Last Legacy: Or, the Conjuror Unmasked, with Great Additions and Improvements (1792)
  • Sixth edition Dublin, J. Rice, (1793)
  • The twelfth edition, with great additions and improvements printed for J. Barker; and sold by B. Crosby (1794)
  • American Edition in Philadelphia (1811) (Making it the fourth American book devoted to magic)
  • A facsimile of the 1795 edition with new foreword by Byron Walker (1997)

Raymond Ricard has posted pictures of an American Edition that he found which was printed in Philadelphia in 1796. This would make it the second book on conjuring published in the United States (after Dean's Whole Art of Legerdemain).[1]

Table of Contents 1784

  • 13 The Air Balloon described and how to make one as has lately been done in France and England
  • 14 To make Inflammable Air
  • 22 To cause Mirth, and make Sport with Quick-silver
  • 24 Another Trick with Quick-silver
  • 25 To make a Six-pence seem to fall through a Table
  • 26 The Visible Invisible
  • 30 To fasten a Ring or a Six-pence at the End of a Piece of common Thread and after burning the Thread, to have the Ring hanging at the End of the Thread
  • 33 The Learned little Swan, one of Mr. Breslaw's Grand Deceptions
  • 37 To take a Bird out of a Cage, and make it appear as dead, or to roll it about as you please
  • 40 How, on delivering a Ring to a Number of Persons, to find which Person has got it, which Hand it is on, which Finger, and which Joint
  • 44 How to rub out Twenty Chalks at five Times, rubbing out every Time an odd one
  • 47 A Person holding Gold in one Hand and Silver in the other, to find which the Gold is in and which the Silver
  • 48 To tell if a Person holds Gold in one Hand and Silver in the other, which Hand the Gold is in, and which the Silver is in
  • 49 To findthe Number of Points cast on Three Dice
  • 51 To find the Points cast upon Two Dice
  • 52 To make a Person tired, or sweat, at carrying a finall Stick out of a Room
  • 54 A Trick with a Cock
  • 55 A droll Trick played with a Fowl
  • 58 To make an Egg stand an end on a Table or on a Looking-glass
  • 59 To put a Candle under Water, a light without its going out
  • 61 For a Person to chuse a Card, you not supposed to know what it is, and then for the Person to hold the Cards between his Finger and Thumb to strike them all out of his Hand but the very Card he had taken
  • 62 To tell what Card a Person thinks upon, though you are not in the Room, or which Card he has touched, or waved his Hand over
  • 63 To tell what Card you think on in the whole Pack
  • 64 How to deliver out four Aces, and to convert them to Four Knawes
  • 65 To tell what Card a Person pitches on, without seeing the Card till you find it in the Pack
  • 67 To call for any Card in the Pack
  • 68 Shuffling of Cards so as to always keep one certain Card at the Bottom
  • 71 Geographical Paradoxes
  • 77 Dreams and their Interpretations, the Belief in Dreams established from Holy Writ, etc.
  • 89 Electricity. Strange Tricks performed by Electricity
  • 99 The Art of Fortune-telling by Cards
  • 102 Palmestry displayed, or the Art of telling Fortunes by Lines in the Hands
  • 104 Of Moles in every Pat of the Body and the Explanation of them
  • 106 To make one tumble and toss all night and not be able to sleep
  • 106 A merry trick to make Sport in Company
  • 107 To make a Pea dance upon the End of a Piece of Tobbaco Pipe
  • 109 Comical stories, Puns, Jokes and Repartees
  • 115 Riddles



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