Quotes by John Brand

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As the vulgar . . . are always very careful to end the old year well, so they are no less solicitous of making a good beginning of the new one. The old one is ended with a hearty compotation. The new one is opened with the custom of sending presents, which are termed New Year's Gifts, to friends and acquaintance.

The Shamrock is said to be worn by the Irish upon the anniversary of this Saint, for the following reason. When the Saint preached the Gospel to the Pagan Irish, he illustrated the doctrine of the Trinity by showing them a trefoil, or three-leave grass with one stalk, which operating to their conviction, the Sham- rock, which is a bundle of this grass, was ever afterwards worn upon this Saint's anniversary, to commemorate the event.
The oldest tradition affirms that such an infatuation attends the first day of April as no foresight can escape, no vigilance can defeat. Deceit is successful on that day out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. Grave citizens have been bit upon it: usurers have lent their money on bad security: experienced matrons have married very disappointed young fellows: mathematicians have missed the longitude: alchymists the philosopher's stone: and politicians preferment on that day. What confusion will not follow if the great body of the nation are disappointed of their peculiar holiday! This country was formerly disturbed with very fatal quarrels about the celebration of Easter. . . . If our clergy come to be divided about Folly's anniversary, we may well expect all the mischiefs attendant on religious wars.
Some days . . . are commonly deemed unlucky; among others, Friday labours under that opprobrium; and it is pretty generally held that no new work or enterprise should commence on that day. . . . A respectable merchant of the city of London informed me that no person there will begin any business, i. e. open his shop for the first time, on a Friday.
With regard to Saturday afternoons, perhaps men who live by manual labour, and have families to support by it, cannot spend them better than in following the several callings in which they have employed themselves on the preceding days of the week. For industry will be no bad preparation for the Sabbath.

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