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First British Reference    (April Fool's Day - 1659)


Francis Osborne's Deductions from the History of the Earl of Essex, published in 1659, contains a reference to a Dutch custom of the youths in that country sending fools on "impertinent errands" on the second of April.

Although Osborne specified the second of April, rather than the first, we can safely assume he was referring to the custom of April Fool's Day. The fact that he described it as a Dutch tradition suggests that April Fool's Day was not yet widely practiced in England.

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