No. 462. Wednesday, August 20, 1712. Steele.

Nil ego prátulerem Jucundo sanus amico.'

People are not aware of the very great Force which Pleasantry in Company has upon all those with whom a Man of that Talent converses. His Faults are generally overlooked by all his Acquaintance, and a certain Carelessness that constantly attends all his Actions, carries him on with greater Success, than Diligence and Assiduity does others who have no Share of this Endowment. Dacinthus breaks his Word upon all Occasions both trivial and important; and when he is sufficiently railed at for that abominable Quality, they who talk of him end with, After all he is a very pleasant Fellow. Dacinthus is an ill-natured Husband, and yet the very Women end their Freedom of Discourse upon this Subject, But after all he is very pleasant Company. Dacinthus is neither in point of Honour, Civility, good Breeding, or good Nature unexceptionable, and yet all is answered, For he is a very pleasant Fellow. When this Quality is conspicuous in a Man who has, to accompany it, manly and virtuous Sentiments, there cannot certainly be any thing which can give so pleasing Gratification as the Gaiety of such a Person; but when it is alone, and serves only to gild a Crowd of ill Qualities, there is no Man so much to be avoided as your pleasant Fellow. A very pleasant Fellow shall turn your good Name to a Jest, make your Character contemptible, debauch your Wife or Daughter, and yet be received by the rest of the World with Welcome where-ever he appears. It is very ordinary with those of this Character to be attentive only to their own Satisfactions, and have very little Bowels for the Concerns or Sorrows of other Men; nay, they are capable of purchasing their own Pleasures at the Expence of giving Pain to others. But they who do not consider this sort of Men thus carefully, are irresistibly exposed to his Insinuations. The Author of the following Letter carries the Matter so high, as to intimate that the Liberties of England have been at the Mercy of a Prince merely as he was of this pleasant Character.

Mr. Spectator,

'There is no one Passion which all Mankind so naturally give into as Pride, nor any other Passion which appears in such different Disguises: It is to be found in all Habits and all Complexions. Is it not a Question, whether it does more Harm or Good in the World? And if there be not such a Thing as what we may call a virtuous and laudable Pride?

'It is this Passion alone, when misapplyed, that lays us so open to Flatterers; and he who can agreeably condescend to sooth our Humour or Temper, finds always an open Avenue to our Soul; especially if the Flatterer happen to be our Superior.

'One might give many Instances of this in a late English Monarch, under the Title of, The Gayeties of King Charles II. This Prince was by Nature extreamly familiar, of very easie Access, and much delighted to see and be seen; and this happy Temper, which in the highest Degree gratified his Peoples Vanity, did him more Service with his loving Subjects than all his other Virtues, tho' it must be confessed he had many. He delighted, tho' a mighty King, to give and take a Jest, as they say; and a Prince of this fortunate Disposition, who were inclined to make an ill Use of his Power, may have any thing of his People, be it never so much to their Prejudice. But this good King made generally a very innocent Use, as to the Publick, of this ensnaring Temper; for, 'tis well known, he pursued Pleasure more than Ambition: He seemed to glory in being the first Man at Cock-matches, Horse-races, Balls, and Plays; he appeared highly delighted on those Occasions, and never failed to warm and gladden the Heart of every Spectator. He more than once dined with his good Citizens of London on their Lord-Mayor's Day, and did so the Year that Sir Robert Viner was Mayor. Sir Robert was a very loyal Man, and, if you will allow the Expression, very fond of his Sovereign; but what with the Joy he felt at Heart for the Honour done him by his Prince, and thro' the Warmth he was in with continual toasting Healths to the Royal Family, his Lordship grew a little fond of his Majesty, and entered into a Familiarity not altogether so graceful in so publick a Place. The King understood very well how to extricate himself on all kinds of Difficulties, and with an Hint to the Company to avoid Ceremony, stole off and made towards his Coach, which stood ready for him in Guild-Hall Yard: But the Mayor liked his Company so well, and was grown so intimate, that he pursued him hastily, and catching him fast by the Hand, cryed out with a vehement Oath and Accent, Sir, You shall stay and take t'other Bottle. The airy Monarch looked kindly at him over his Shoulder, and with a Smile and graceful Air, (for I saw him at the Time, and do now) repeated this Line of the old Song;

'He that's drunk is as great as a King.'

and immediately [turned [1]] back and complied with his Landlord.

I give you this Story, Mr. SPECTATOR, because, as I said, I saw the Passage; and I assure you it's very true, and yet no common one; and when I tell you the Sequel, you will say I have yet a better Reason for't. This very Mayor afterwards erected a Statue of his merry Monarch in Stocks-Market, [2] and did the Crown many and great Services; and it was owing to this Humour of the King, that his Family had so great a Fortune shut up in the Exchequer of their pleasant Sovereign. The many good-natured Condescensions of this Prince are vulgarly known: and it is excellently said of him by a great Hand which writ his Character, That he was not a King a Quarter of an Hour together in his whole Reign. [3] He would receive Visits even from Fools and half Mad-men, and at Times I have met with People who have Boxed, fought at Back-sword, and taken Poison before King Charles II. In a Word, he was so pleasant a Man, that no one could be sorrowful under his Government. This made him capable of baffling, with the greatest Ease imaginable, all Suggestions of Jealousie, and the People could not entertain Notions of any thing terrible in him, whom they saw every way agreeable. This Scrap of the familiar Part of that Prince's History I thought fit to send you, in compliance to the Request you lately made to your Correspondents.

I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant.


[Footnote 1: return'd]

[Footnote 2: Stocks-market, upon the site of which the Mansion House was built in 1738, received its name from a pair of stocks erected near it as early as the year 1281. Sir Robert Viner here erected, in 1675, his white marble statue of Charles II., that he bought a bargain at Leghorn. It was a statue of John Sobieski trampling on a Turk, which had been left on the sculptor's hands, but his worship the Mayor caused a few alterations to be made for the conversion of Sobieski into Charles, and the Turk (still with a turban on his head) into Oliver Cromwell. After the building of the Mansion House this statue lay as lumber in an inn yard till, in 1779, the Corporation gave it to a descendant of the Mayor, who had the reason above given for reverencing Charles II.]

[Footnote 3: Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Sat. v. 44.
'Nothing so grateful as a pleasant friend.'