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MEMOIRS OF MISS R AY.
Not in the London Edition.)
The following Account of Miss Ray, said
to be written by a Gentleman of this City*,) first appeared in the Hibernian Magazine, for April, 1779, and is now, by purticular Defre, republiked.
Dublin, 20 Aug. 1780.
Illa, quis & me, inquit, miseram, & te perditit, Oriheu?
Did we live in the days of knight errantry, when the passion of love inspired its votaries with fentiments which frequently produced the most extraordinary effects, the transactions of which we are now to treat, might pass unnoticed; but the present polished and enlightened age has exploded as chimerical, ideas which are now to be found but in the rude legends of the middle ages ;--ferve to embellish the agreeable fictions of the poets ;~-or to work up the wonderful and pathetic of a modern novel.
* MR. CHRISTOPHER JACKSON.
Illicit love now reignis triumphant, pervading all degrees, from the peer, (we had almost said prince,) to the peasant; obedient to its impulse, or the itronger dictatis of interest, the fair ones of the present age submit their mercenary charms; and the men equally diftinguithed for dislipation and inconftancy, relinquith the happiness of a virtuous union, to violate the marriage bed ;-engage in the laudable puruits of reduction ;-or revel in the arms of incontinent beauty.
The recent and deplorablc ac of Mr. Hackman, in whatever point of view it is considered, affords to those who make human nature the object of their study and enquiry, a remarkable incident in its history, - and a query naturally arises, which we shall, however, subint to the casuilt " Whether love and malice to the fame object can dwell together in the same beait ?” Mr. Hackman shot at Miss Ray because he loved her ; but how are we to reconcile the sentiment with the act ? certain it is, that Miss Ray in the premature, and deplorable death, which she received by the hands of her admirer, experienced no less than ihe could expect or feel from the effects of his most deadly hate *.
* After the murder of Miss Ray, two letters were found in Mr. Hackman's pocket, one, a copy of a letter which he had
That “ enjoyment is the grave of defire,"—is an aphorism in love, better verified by experience than many in Hippocrates or Boerhaave ; but, in direct contradiction to a generally received, and wellfounded maxim, we find Mr. Hackınan, after a long and particular intimacy with Miss Ray, during which She not only encouraged his addresses, hut savoured him with that last proof of her esteem, by which those who are best acquainted with the female heart, muft acknowledge, that the fincerity of women in matters of love, can only be truly ascertained; as it is also the most trying teit of that conttancy, which the inen are apt to profess, but whose ultimate object is generally possession; and whose attentions and admiration is too frequently found to decrease from the time that object is attained. But Mr. Hackman's affection is said to have continued unchanged, and his attachment unalterably fixed, from the commencement of their amour, to its final, and fatal termination*
written to Miss Ray, and the other to his brother-in-law, ia Bow-street. The first of these epilties is ieplete with warm expressions of affection to the unfo! tunate object of his love, and an eainest recommendation of his patiion. The other contains a pathetic relation of the melancholy relolution he had taken, and a confeffion of the caule that p:cduced it.
* In the reign of the Emperor Nero, OCTAVIUS SAGITTA, tribune of the people, int xic ted with a paflion for PorTiA POSTHUMIA, whom he had lang enjoyed in the most un. bounded degree of illicit int cou: e, rund his love so inci caled by poffeffion, that he solicited her, with inceliant importunity, diftinc
Notwith itanding the elevated situation in which Miss Ray shewn, during the last feventeen years, lier first onset in life is involved in an obfcurity, from which our most diligent enquiry has been able to collect but very few authentic particulars *. The
to marry him, she however framed various delays, and at length renounced all corre pondence with him. SAGITTA alternately used complaints and menaces; adjuring her by the reputation which for her he had thipwrecked, hy the wealth which upon her he had totally confumed; laitly, he told her, that his life and perfon was the only fortune left him, and of that loo the dirposal lay wholly in her breast. At length, perceiving her deat to all his reasonings, he requested the confolation of one parting night; for that thus calmed and gratified, he would thenceforth be able to govern his pasion. The night was granted and named, and Pontia appointed a maid her confidante to secure the chamber. SAGITTA brought with him one freedman, and a dagger concealed under his robe. The interview began, as usual, in combinations of love and anger, with a medley of chiding and belecching, of reproaches and submision; and part too of the night was devoted to joy and embraces: at last he became enraged with expostulations and despair, and suddenly plunged his dagger into her heart.. - (Tacitus' Annals, lih. xiii.
Nulle sunt inimicitæ nisi amoris acerbe. PROPERT.
“ It is,” says MONTAIGNE, a furious agitation " that throws them back to an extremity quite contrary to « its cause."
* If probable conjecture can be admitted to supply the deficiency of authentic information, it may certainly be made use of in writing the memoirs of a modern courtezan: their lives are
distinctions of family or fortune, so effential to those who would rank in the circles of the great and fashionable world, shed not their lustre on the humble sphere of life in which Miss Ray originally moved ; but these adventitious aids, liberal nature amply supplied, by a profusion of her more rare and estimable gifts : the character left us by Sallust of the beautisul, the gay, and accomplished Sempronia, was pe
generally uniform, however as individuals, they may differ in point of situation, or personal attractions : pleasure and interest are the ultimate objects of their views, and their occupations. But the causes which lead them to swerve from those principles of virtue, which constitute their fex's noblest boast, and bright, est ornament, often vary. And first, thote who possess that degree of sentiment, sensibility, and delicacy of thinking, which, without a portion of prudence sufficient to direct them in their intercourse with the world, often proves subversive of the virtue, and destructive to the happiness of their owner. These, tho' they are the most estimable, are too the most amiably weak principles of our nature ; and men skilled in the arts of seduction, who, Proteus like, can assume the temblance of vice, or virtue, at will; find a peculiar facility in making there qualiries the ready instruments to effect the ruin of their possessor. Over such amiable victims, virtue mourns, and sympathy pays the tribute of a tear, to the lamentable fate of sensibility and beauty.
In the second rank may be classed those, who, with perhaps, an equal share of beauty, have hearts which are less susceptible of tender impressions : such form an early and a just estimate of the world; as well as of their own qualities and endowments ; acquire the art of displaying these to advantage, by attention to, and a dextrous management of the passions, and foibles of their admirers. Among the latter we shall place Miss Ray.