Published in 1995, this volume examines the Bray Associates, a philanthropic society founded by the missionary Thomas Bray. The Bray Associates was the parent organization of the Georgia Trustees, the founding and original governing body of the Georgia Colony. James Edward Oglethorpe led the Bray Associates from 1730 to 1732, a period of revitalization for the group. It was through the Associates that Oglethorpe's colonial ambitions gained the legitimacy needed to win Parliament's support. Rodney M. Baine argues that it was not Bray or Captain Thomas Coram, but rather James Oglethorpe who was the first individual to envision Georgia as a charitable colony for debtors. Further, the actual work involved in obtaining the Georgia Charter was accomplished by men appointed by Oglethorpe. Baine dates Oglethorpe's first vision of an American haven for debtors released from English prisons to 1729, when Oglethorpe began his efforts to move parliament toward a reform of the prison system.
The minutes show Oglethorpe at all times in control of the mission of the Bray Associates, which he reorganized and expanded with the most active and able members of his parliamentary committee on prison reform. Baine believes that no other colony owes its beginnings more to the vision, determination, and activity of one man. A full introduction summarizes the developments in the creation of Georgia and in an appendix Baine disputes previous attributions of Georgia's founding vision to Bray and Coram.