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Tradition has in no instance so clearly evinced her faithfulness as in the transmittal of vulgar rites and popular opinions. Of these, when we are desirous of tracing them backwards to their origin, many may be said to lose themselves in the mists of antiquity. They have indeed travelled to us through a long succession of years, and the greater 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 forefathers, and authorities that are gray with time seldom fail of commanding those filial honours claimed even by the appearance of hoary age. It must be confessed that many of these are mutilated, and, as in the remains of ancient statuary, the parts of some have been awkwardly transposed: they preserve, however, the principal traits that distinguished them in their origin.


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