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Including the whole of
WITH ADDENDA TO EVERY CHAPTER OF THAT WORK:
BY JOHN BRAND, A.B.
OF LINCOLN COLLEGE, OXFORD.
Multitudo Vulgi, more magis quam judicio, post alium alius quasi prudentiorem sequitur..
SALLUST. ad. CÆS.
PRINTED FOR VERNOR, HOOD, AND SHARPE, POULTRY; JAMES
CUNDEE, IVY-LANE ; AND W. BAYNES,
RADITION has in no Instance so clearly evinced her Faithfulness, as in the transmitting of vulgar Rites and popular Opinions.
Of these, when we are desirous of tracing them backwards to their Origin, many lose themselves in Antiquity.
They have indeed travelled down to us through a long Succession of Years, and the greatest part of them, it is not improbable, will be of perpetual Observation : for the generality of Men look back with superstitious Veneration on the Ages of their Fore-fathers : And Authorities, that are grey with Time, seldom fail of commanding those filial Honours, claimed even by the Appearance of hoary old Age.
Many of these it must be confessed are mutilated, and, as in the Remains of ancient Statuary, the Parts of not a few of them have been awkwardly transposed: they preserve, however, the principal Traits, that distinguished them in their origin. Things, composed of such flimsy Materials as the Fan
cies of a Multitude, do not seem calculated for a long Duration ; yet have these survived Shocks, by which even Empires have been overthrown, and preserved at least some Forn and Colour of Identity, during a Repetition of Changes, both in Religious Opinions, and in the Polity of States.
But the strongest Proof of their remote Antiquity, is, that they have out-lived the general Knowledge of the very Causes that gave rise to them.
The Reader will find in the subsequent pages an union of Endeavours to rescue many of these Causes from Oblivion. If, on the investigation, they appear to any so frivolous as not to have deserved the Pains of the Search, the humble Labourers will avoid Censure, by incurring Contempt.
How trivial soever such an Enquiry may seem to some, yet all must be informed that it attended with no small share of Difficulty and Toil.
A Passage is to be forced through a Wilderness intricate and entangled : few Vestiges of former Labours can be found to direct us; we must oftentimes trace a tedious retrospective Course, perhaps to return at last weary and unsatisfied, from the making of Researches, fruitless as those of some ancient enthusiastic Traveller, who ranging the barren African Sands, had in vain attempted to investigate the hidden Sources of the Nile.
Rugged and narrow as this Walk of Study may seem to many, yet Fancy (who shares with Hope the pleasing Office of brightening a passage through every Route of buman Endeavour) opens from hence to Prospects, enriched with the choicest Beauties of her magic Creation.
The prime Origin of the superstitious Notions and Ceremonies of the People is absolutely unattainable'; we des