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affent to. Tho' he lived where gallantry was the capital pursuit, he was never known to favour it by his example, and what authority he had was fet to oppose it. Instead therefore of a romantic history filled with warm pictures and fanciful adventures, the reader of the following account must reft fatisfied with a genuine and candid recital compiled from the papers he left behind, and others equally authentic; a recital neither written with a spirit of fatire nor panegyric, and with scarce any other art, than that of arranging the materials in their natural order.
But tho' little art has been used, it is hoped that fome entertainment may be collected from the life of a person fo much talked of, and yet fo little known
known as Mr. Nafb. The hiftory of a man, who for more than fifty years prefided over the pleasures of a polite kingdom, and whofe life, tho' without any thing to furprife, was ever marked with fingularity, deferves the attention of the present age; the pains he took in pursuing pleasure, and the folemnity he affumed in adjusting trifles, may one' day claim the smile of pofterity. At least fuch an hiftory is well enough calculated to supply a vacant hour with innocent amusement, however it may fail to open the heart, or improve the understanding.
Yet his life, how trifling foever it may appear to the inattentive, was not without its real advantages to the public. He was the firft who diffused a defire of society, and an eafinefs
nefs of address among a whole people who were formerly cenfured by foreigners for a reservedness of beha viour, and an aukward timidity in their first approaches. He first taught a familiar intercourfe among ftrangers at Bath and Tunbridge, which still fubfifts among them. That cafe and open acccess first acquired there, our gentry brought back to the metropolis, and thus the whole kingdom by degrees became more refined by leffons originally derived from him.
Had it been my defign to have made this history more pleafing at the expence of truth, it had been eafily performed, but I chofe to defcribe the man as he was, not such as imagination could have helped
in compleating his picture; he will be found to be a weak man, governing weaker fubjects, and may be confidered as refembling a monarch of Cappadocia, whom Cicero fomewhere calls, the little king of a little people.
But while I have been careful in defcribing the monarch, his dominions have claimed no fmall share of my attention; I have given an exact account of the rife, regulation, and nature of the amusements of the city of Bath, how far Mr. Nash contributed to establish and refine them, and what pleasure a stranger may expect there upon his arrival. Such anecdotes as are at once true and worth preferving are produced in their order, and fome ftories are added,
which, tho' commonly known, more neceffarily belong to this hiftory, than to the places from whence they have been extracted. But it is needless to point out the pains that have been taken, or the entertainment that may be expected from the perufal of this performance. It is but an indifferent way to gain the reader's esteem, to be my own panegyrist, nor is this preface fo much defigned to lead him to beauties, as to demand pardon for defects.