smith ever had any acquaintance with Nash, in spite of such remarks in the biography as, "The only way to make love, I have heard Mr. Nash say"; “I have known him [Nash], in London, wait a whole day at a window in Smyrna Coffee House," &c.; "I shall beg leave to give some instances of Mr. Nash's good sense and good nature on these occasions, as I have had accounts from himself." It is possible, of course, that such statements were introduced deliberately to mislead the reader into the belief that the record was written by a friend of Nash; but more acceptable is Mr. J. W. M. Gibbs' suggestion that Goldsmith, writing from George Scott's materials, wrote in the first person as representing his informant.

Another, but far less valuable, authority is “The Jests of Beau Nash, late Master of the Ceremonies at Bath," issued anonymously in 1763, but compiled, it is believed, by Griffith Jones, who, in the preface to that little volume, told how Nash had been importuned, in "a poem ninety feet long" written by a stranger who loved that class of book, to publish his jests. "This," the writer continued, "naturally gave offence to a man of his extreme modesty; however, good nature soon got the better of resentment, and he promised to gratify the gentleman's curiosity, and for that purpose had strung together a number of excellent jests which have fallen into our hands."

All accounts of Beau Nash may be traced to the information contained in these volumes, and the various articles that have been printed during the last hundred and forty years-with the notable exception of Mr. Thomas Seccombe's admirable and


authoritative account in the "Dictionary of National Biography"-have been based exclusively upon it. Indeed, it was not until Monsieur Barbeau issued his monumental volume on "Life and Letters at Bath in the Eighteenth Century" that any work was published in which the original sources had been thoroughly examined.

To write of Nash without describing Bath in his day would be impossible anywhere except in a biographical dictionary, and until now, with the notable exception of Monsieur Barbeau, authors have been content also to present the picture of social life in that city as it appears in Goldsmith's book. There are, however, many other authorities upon which to draw, most of which were inaccessible to Goldsmith; but the latter was able to consult Wood's Description of Bath," and, indeed, in several places, without acknowledgment, he inserted in his narrative passages of considerable length from that invaluable work.


The present writer has diligently consulted all the authorities known to him, and a full list of these appears in the Appendices to this volume. He has drawn largely upon the letter-writers of that day, and has not scrupled, in preference to the prevalent method paraphrasing, to give these verbatim; and, realising, how much light they throw on the period, he has devoted much time to the quest for the works of contemporary rhymesters, from the insignificant anonymous scribe to the celebrated Anstey, whose satirical poem, "The New Bath Guide," extorted from Horace Walpole the encomium that "so much

humour, fire, poetry, and originality never met together before," and drew a "Poetical Epistle" from the lyre of an unknown panegyrist.

Sweet is the music of thy murm'ring springs,
Yet sweeter, Bath, the strain thy poet sings.


What, tho' I boast not half the fire

That glow'd thro' A-y's veins;
If one kind muse would mine inspire,
As all inspir'd his strains :

For him (sweet fancy's fav'rite child!)
I'd tune the grateful lay:
But ah! no muse propitious smil❜d
Upon my natal day.

Yet deign, dear Bard, a patient ear,
To friendship's voice attend:
And read (tho' not with critic sneer)
Each artless line I send.

Nor e'er suspect these simple lays
Are meant to blast the fame ;

Believe me still more pleas'd to praise,
Tho' I should dare to blame.

No wretch that wounds thy laurell'd brow,
Shall 'scape vindictive wrath;

For Pope himself, if living now,
Might praise the Bard of Bath.*

In conclusion, the author wishes to record his very sincere thanks to several gentlemen, resident at Bath, who, during his stay in that city, were at pains to "Poetical Epistles to the Author of "The New Bath

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furnish him with material for this work. He is indebted to Mr. Alfred Pitman for the loan of several valuable prints which have been reproduced in these pages; and to Mr. J. F. Meehan, the author of "Famous Houses of Bath," not only for the loan of the rare portrait of Beau Nash that has been reproduced as the frontispiece to this volume, but also for his kindness in devoting many hours to showing him the historic landmarks in and around Bath. He gladly acknowledges his gratitude for the kindness he received at the hands of Mr. P. S. C. Brewer, the librarian of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution; Mr. Joseph Davis, the librarian of the Bath Reference Library, who generously placed at his disposal his manuscript note-books, replete with valuable information about Bath gleaned from the Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Town Council Minutes, and the local newspapers; Mr. Lewis A. Long; Mr. William Tyte, the author of "Bath in the Eighteenth Century;" and last, but certainly not least, Mr. Frederick Shum, F.S.A., who ransacked his vast collections of books and prints in the effort to assist his researches.

HARPENDEN, October 1907.


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