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Bristol. On the left there is an enchanting scene of woods and fields, and on the right you may see Hampton and Claverton Downs, Prior Park, and various villages; the whole forming the most fascinating scene.
There are many other rides about this city, more agreeable than the above Downs in cold tempestuous weather. To the village of Kelston, the London Road, and the New Road from Lambridge to and beyond Swineswick, and the lower road to Bristol along the winding banks of the Avon. These roads are sheltered by the hills that surround Bath. The spiral form of these hills has this great consequence attending it, that it screens the whole city, with all the low land about it, from every principal wind; admitting at the same time the collateral streams of the agitated air to refresh and purify the same land and city by their more gentle breezes, as well as the beams of the rising sun to dissipate and dry up the damps of the morning fluid in which we breathe, after its compressure by the moisture of the night, as is necessary to dispel the causes of sleep, and awaken the whole animal world.
From thirty to forty different rides, (each sufficient for a morning airing), with so many beautiful points of view, and places that can gratify the most unbounded curiosity, may be found about Bath, as in ten times the space of ground any other country in the world can afford.
It is hoped the auspicious return of Peace to this country, which has deeply mourned her long absence, and the loss of her bengin influence, is not far distant; when no doubt the spirit of enterprize will be again roused in the breasts of our builders, and induce them to execute the design formed, and commenced some years ago, of building a new square, two new crescents, and streets contiguous to the London road. This noble intention, with those marked on the Pulteney estate, would add greatly to the size of the city, which the desolating hand of war has crushed, and damped the noble ardour of the designers. Should the erection of these recommence, those who would ascend the summit of Beechen Cliff, which is the principal point from whence a full and distinct view of the city can be seen, when they look down, Bath will appear to them much the same that Virgil declares Cart hage to have appeared to Æneas. d thong of L
"Now o'er the lofty hill they bend their way,
Account of Richard Nash, Esq.
FTER this account of Bath Amusements, the subsequent one of the celebrated Beau Nash, (who may claim the merit of having drawn the outline of that agreeable arrangement and orderly system, in which they are at present carried on) we hope will be acceptable to every reader.
RICHARD NASH, Esq. was born in the town of Swansea, in Glamorganshire, on the 18th of October, 1674; his father possessed a handsome income, the principal part of which he derived from a glass-manufactory there. His mother was niece to Colonel Poyer, who was executed by Oliver Cromwell, for defending bravely the Castle of Pembroke, on behalf of the unfortunate Charles the First.
Mr. Nash received a competent share of classical knowledge under Mr. Mattocks, at Carmarthen school; from thence he was sent at the early age of sixteen to the University of Oxford. Here he entered at Jesus College, in order to prepare himself for pursuing the profession of the law. But he had mistaken his turn; the dry code of civil jurisprudence, was not calculated to fix the attention of one whose disposition was naturally gay and volatile, and who was now surrounded by the diversified dissipations of an English University. Nash gave full scope to the bent of his inclination, devoted himself solely to pleasure instead of institutes and acts of Parliament, and involved himself in an intrigue with a knowing female in the University. This induced his friends to have him instantly removed from the sphere of his mistress's charms. The next step he took was to purchase a pair of colours in the army, which situation he thought best adapted to gratify his desire for gallantry; but he soon found that he had pleased himself with ideal delights: his rank did not
raise him above subordination, and the duties and attendance attached to an ensign's commission, became quickly insupportable to a man, who pursued his pleasures without restraint, and deviated from regularity and order without reproach. He therefore quitted the army in disgust, returned to the discarded law, and entered himself a student of the Middle Temple.
Shortly after, Mr. Nash became a public character from the following circumstance: at the time of William's accession to the throne, a custom, sanctioned by very high antiquity, rendered it necessary for this Society, of which our hero was a member, to entertain the new monarch with a revel and a pageant on this occasion; but the direction of these was a matter of importance, and not to be entrusted to a common hand: Nash's taste, wit, gaiety, and elegance, made him be looked upon as a most proper person for filling the of fice of high-priest on the occasion. The templars, therefore, having chosen him for the purpose, their choice was sufficiently justified by the revel being conducted in such a manner as gave the utmost satisfaction to the King and his attendants.
William indeed offered to knight Nash for the abilities he displayed; but our hero refused the unsubstantial mockery of sa title, without a comfortable income being attached to it.
Bath was then beginning to be a place of fashionable resort ; Mr. Nash paid it a visit, and a vacancy happening in the office of Master of the Ceremonies, by the loss of Captain Webster, the well known talents of Nash for the invention of amusements, became a powerful recommendation to his succeeding in theimportant situation of Arbiter Elegantiarum. He was sccordingly elected, and invested with the fullest power to order, arrange, correct, and improve the manners of the company, the routine of amusements, and the point of etiquette.
Under his auspices, Bath quickly emerged from that obscurity in which it had been hidden for ages, to splendor, elegance, and taste. .. No rank, under his equal administration, could shield the criminal from punishment, if the code of laws established by Nash had been infringed; and no dignity, of situation in
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fluence him to allow a breach or temporary suspension of them. When the Duchess of Queensbury appeared at the dress-ball in an apron, he deliberately desired her to take it off, and threw it to the attendants who were standing behind : and when the Princess Amelia applied to him for one more dance after eleven o'clock, he refused, assuring her that the laws of Bath were, like those of Lycurgus, unalterable. The influence which this firmness in his government gave him in the little world of Bath, was unbounded, and Nash took care to preserve and increase it by a considerable affectation of spiendor in his dress and equipage; aware that external appearance has a powerful and visible effect on the largest part of mankind, the weak and the vain, and that the wise and the good are not entirely insensible to it, though in an inferior degree. Consistently with this just view of human nature, his house was richly furnished; his chariot was drawn by six grey horses, several persons on horseback and on foot attending the carriage, bearing French-borns and other instruments of music; his clothes were profusely decorated with lace, and his head crowned with a large white bat, cocked up in a fierce and singular manner. This was the meridian of Nash's glory. The Prince of Wales, and Prince of Orange, gave him marks of their esteem; the nobility at Bath flattered him with their familiarity, the gentry treated him with respect; and the corporation always consulted him in every public step in which they engaged. A sum of money was voted by the chamber for the purpose of erecting a marble statue of the King of Bath, which, when finished, found an honorable station in the Pump-room, between the busts of Newton and Pope.*
The latter of these respectable names is discovered amongst the number of Mr. Nash's friends, and it argues no little regard for the beau on the part of the poet, that Pope condescended to write, at Nash's desire, an inscription for the obe
* The keen wit of Lord Chesterfield could not pass over this happy opportunity of ridiculing so absurd an association. He wrote an epigrain on the subject, which concludes with these lines:
"The Statue placed the Busts between,
lisk in Queen-square, erected by him in commemoration of the Prince of Wales's visit to Bath.
The band of music (consisting of only five indifferent performers) used to play in the Grove every morning and evening under large trees, which are now cut down. But soon after the Pump-room was built, the physicians solicited Mr. Nash to lead the company there, which he did, and instantly set on foot a subscription for a good band of music. A few years after, Mr. Thomas Harrison erected the [present Lower] Assembly-Rooms for the reception of company; and Mr. Nash had the pleasure (the greatest he could enjoy) of seeing the city of Bath flourish in so rapid a manner under his administration, as to be able to vie with any city in Europe, in the politeness of its amusements, and elegance of its accommodations.
The prosperity of Nash continued for a longer period than is usually allotted to public characters; his popularity undiminished, and his honors untarnished; an admirable skill in play provided amply for his enormous expences, and his hilarity, gaiety, and easy address, as they contributed to the pleasure of society, gained him in return affection, if not esteem. But regard acquired by qualities which are not intrinsically excellent, can only be temporary. Those sprightly traits of character which may add a grace to youth, become ridiculous and disgusting in old age. The jest that pleases at twenty-five, will shock at seventy; nor can the most thoughtless contemplate with pleasure the man who, in the course of nature, must shortly change his being for another, idly busied about the frivolities of gay life, et totus in illis. The public now began to treat Nash with neglect, and shortly with contempt. The great, whom he had served with such devotion, rewarded him-as they are accustomed to remunerate the instruments of their pleasures-by deserting him in the hour of need. Sickness attacked him, and poverty stared him in the face. These were evils against which he had provided no defence, and therefore fell upon him with double weight. Sorrow and distress clouded the closing evening of his days, and reflection came too late for any other purpose than to display to him the disconsolate situation of that man, when he approaches his end, who has spent his whole life in the pursuit of pleasure, and the service of folly.