Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 14 >> Murcia_2 to National Hymns >> Nash


bath, gambling and lie

NASH, Itieumin (1674-1762). An English society leader, better known as 'Beau Nash.: horn at Swansea. in 1692 fie entered Jesus College, Oxford, hut he left before finishing his course, and after a very brief career in the army, entered as a student of law at the Inner Temple in 1693. There he quickly became con spicuous for his good manners, his taste in dress, and his high living. 11 is income being insufli eient to meet his demands, he eked it out by gambling and hi performing for large wagers such risgmr exploits as riding naked through a village on a cow-. It was the former oecupation that in 1705 took him to Bath, then newly tw Nina• a fashionable watering place. Here was his opportunity. Bath was then a rude little village filled to overflowing with fashionable peo ple who were compelled to pay extravagant rates for miserable lodgings, whose only dancing place was the howling green, and whose yard and tea moms were canvas tents. Nash set himself to change all this, and in it short time he had sueceeded not only in building an assembly house, in procuring decent lodgings, and in reducing the insolent sedan-chair men to humility, hut also in making himself the social autocrat of the place. Ile drew up a set of rules which were

enforced on high and low; he praetieally nholished dueling. and lie even assumed the duty of improving the country road; in the neigh borhood. During these years his ineoine, prin cipally derived from hi; partnership in gambling houses and his own skill as a gamester, was large, and he lived in a style befitting 'the King of Bath.' But in 1740 gambling came under the hail of the law, and though Nash managed for time to evade :yielding obedience, new regulations in 1715 left him praetieally without resource,. In this plight, the town, which owed so much to him, came to his rescue with a pension of 110 a month, and on this lie lived until his death. Nash owed but little of his popularity to physical attraction, for, according to Goldsmith, lie was large and clumsy, and his features were "harsh, strong, and peculiarly irregular." But he did have "assiduity, flattery. tine clothes, and as much wit as the ladies he addressed." Consult Goldsmith, Life of Richard Nash (London, 1762).