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RICHARD NASH, Efq;
ISTORY owes its excellence more to the writer's manner than the materials of which it is compofed. The intrigues of courts, or the devastation of armies are regarded by the remote spectator with as little attention as the fquabbles of a village, or the fate of a malefactor, that fall under his own observation. The great and the little, as they have the fame fenfes, and B the
the fame affections, generally present the fame picture to the hand of the draughtfman; and whether the heroe or the clown be the subject of the memoir, it is only man that appears with all his native minutenefs about him, for nothing very great was ever yet formed from the little materials of humanity.
Thus none can properly be faid to write hiftory, but he who understands the human heart, and its whole train of affections and follies. Thofe affections, and follies are properly the materials he has to work upon. The relations of great events may surprize indeed; they may be calculated to inftruct thofe very few, who govern the million beneath, but the generality of mankind find the most real improvement from relations which are levelled to the general furface of life; which tell, not how men learned to conquer, but how they endeavoured to live; not how they gained the fhout of the admiring croud, but how they acquired the
the esteem of their friends and acquaint
Every man's own life would perhaps furnish the most pleasing materials for history, if he only had candour enough to be fincere, and skill enough to select such parts as once making him more prudent, might serve to render his readers more cautious. There are few who do not prefer a page of Montaigne or Colley Cibber, who candidly tells us what they thought of the world, and the world thought of them, to the more stately memoirs and tranfactions of Europe, where we see Kings pretending to immortality, that are now almost forgotten, and statesmen planning frivolous negociations, that fcarce outlive the figning.
It were to be wifhed that ministers and Kings were left to write their own histories; they are truly useful to few but themfelves; but for men who are contented with more humble ftations, I fancy fuch truths only are serviceable as may conduct them
them fafely through life. That knowledge which we can turn to our real benefit fhould be moft eagerly pursued. Treasures which we cannot ufe but little encrease the happiness or even the pride of the poffeffor.
I profefs to write the history of a man placed in the middle ranks of life; of one, whose vices and virtues were open to the eye of the most undifcerning fpectator, who was placed in public view without power to reprefs cenfure, or command adulation, who had too much merit not to become remarkable, yet too much folly to arrive at greatness. I attempt the character of one, who was just such a man as probably you or I may be, but with this difference, that he never performed an action which the world did not know, or ever formed a wish which he did not take pains to divulge. In short I have chofen to write the life of the noted Mr. Nah, as it will be the delineation of a mind without disguise, of a man ever affiduous without industry, and pleasing
to his fuperiors without any fuperiority of genius or understanding.
Yet if there be any who think the fubject of too little importance to command attention, and had rather gaze at the actions of the great, than be directed in guiding their own, I have one undeniable claim to their attention. Mr. Nash was himself a King. In this particular, perhaps no Biographer has been so happy as I. They who are for a delineation of men and manners may find fome fatisfaction that way, and those who delight in adventures of Kings and Queens, may perhaps find their hopes fatisfied in another,
It is a matter of very little importance who were the parents, or what was the education of a man who owed fo little of his advancement to either. He feldom boafted of family or learning, and his father's name and circumftances were fo little known, that Doctor Cheyne ufed frequently to affirm that Nash had no father. The Dutchefs