Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wray, Daniel

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WRAY, DANIEL (1701–1783), antiquary, born on 28 Nov. 1701 in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldersgate, was the youngest child of Sir Daniel Wray (d. 1719), a London citizen and soap-boiler residing in Little Britain, by his second wife. His father was knighted on 24 March 1707–8, while high sheriff of Essex, where he possessed an estate near Ingatestone. At the age of thirteen the son was received at Charterhouse as a day scholar. In 1718 he matriculated from Queens' College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1722, and M.A. in 1728. Between 1722 and 1728 he paid a prolonged visit to Italy in the company of James Douglas (afterwards fourteenth Earl of Morton) [q. v.] On 13 March 1728–9 he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society, and on 18 June 1731 he was incorporated at Oxford. He resided generally at Cambridge until 1739 or 1740, but after being elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in January 1740–1741 he became a more habitual resident of London, lodging at the house of Arthur Pond [q. v.], the painter and engraver. At a later date he removed to lodgings at Richmond, and after his marriage took a house in town, first in King Street, Covent Garden, and afterwards in Duke Street, Soho, and another at Richmond.

In 1737 Wray became acquainted with Philip Yorke (afterwards second Earl of Hardwicke) [q. v.], and a friendship grew up between them which was only terminated by Wray's death. In 1741 Philip and his brother, Charles Yorke (1722–1770) [q. v.], brought out the first volume of the ‘Athenian Letters,’ to which Wray contributed under the signature ‘W.’ In 1745 Philip Yorke appointed Wray his deputy teller of the exchequer, an office which he continued to hold until 1782.

Wray had many friends among his literary contemporaries. Among them may be mentioned Henry Coventry (d. 1752) [q. v.], William Heberden the elder [q. v.], William Warburton [q. v.], Conyers Middleton [q. v.], and Nicholas Hardinge [q. v.] He was a devoted antiquary and collector of rare books, and on 18 June 1765 was appointed one of the trustees of the British Museum. He possessed the gift of attracting and assisting younger men. Among those who considered themselves specially indebted to him were Francis Wollaston [q. v.], George Hardinge [q. v.], and William Heberden the younger [q. v.]

Wray died on 29 Dec. 1783, and was buried in the church of St. Botolph Without, where there is a tablet to his memory. He married Mary (d. 10 March 1803), daughter of Robert Darell of Richmond, Surrey. His portrait by Sir Nathaniel Holland was presented by his widow to Queens' College, Cambridge. Another, engraved by Henry Meyer from a painting by Nathaniel Dance, forms the frontispiece of the first volume of John Nichols's ‘Literary Illustrations.’ A copy of Dance's portrait by John Powell was presented to the Charterhouse library. In the ‘Literary Illustrations’ there is an engraving by Barak Longmate of a profile of Wray cut out in paper by his wife, said to be a remarkable likeness, and a copy of a profile in bronze executed in Rome by G. Pozzo in 1726. His library was presented by his widow to Charterhouse in 1785, and a ‘Catalogue’ was printed in 1790, 8vo.

Though Wray wrote much, he published little in his lifetime. He contributed three papers to the first two volumes of ‘Archæologia’ on classical antiquities. After his death George Hardinge compiled a memoir to accompany a collection of his verses and correspondence, which he published in 1817 in the first volume of ‘Literary Illustrations,’ with a dedication to Philip Yorke, third earl of Hardwicke [q. v.] Fifty copies of the memoir were separately printed for private distribution. Two sonnets to Wray by Thomas Edwards (1699–1757) [q. v.] appear in the later editions of Edwards's ‘Canons of Criticism.’ Hardinge declares that a sonnet by Richard Roderick [q. v.], printed in Robert Dodsley's ‘Collection of Poems’ (ed. 1775, ii. 321), and again in ‘Elegant Extracts,’ edited by Vicesimus Knox [q. v.] (ed. 1796, p. 838), is also addressed to Wray, but the identification seems doubtful.

Wray is one of those who have been identified with Junius. In 1830 James Falconar published an ingenious work entitled ‘The Secret Revealed,’ in which he made out a plausible case for the identification. An examination of his evidence shows, however, that it is untrustworthy (cf. Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 164, 212).

[Nichols's Lit. Illustr. i. 1–168, 826–30, ii. 87, 100, 126, 130, iii. 43, iv. 524–37, viii. 406; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 441–2, 712, vii. 716, viii. 525, ix. 445, 609; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. 1817; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Gent. Mag. 1779 p. 150, 1783 i. 393, 1784 i. 72, ii. 567, 1785 i. 337, ii. 512, 689, 1803 i. 601; Wheatley and Cunningham's London Past and Present, 1881, i. 226; Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Soc. Appendix, p. xxxviii; Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surrey, 1814, iii. 127.]

E. I. C.