The legend of Oglethorpe founding a colony for the relief of debtors who languished in the English prisons is familiar to all. Historians have long offered a broader view of the origin of the Colony of Georgia, but the debtor legend continues to loom large in the public mind. The evidence is persuasive that only a handful of debtors ever came to Georgia--a dozen would be a fair estimate. No committee ever visited the English prisons to select colonists for Georgia, and not a single person was sent over by the Trustees because he had been imprisoned for debt. If any released debtor were selected to come to Georgia, he was selected from the hundreds of poor and unemployed from whom the Trustees received applications because he was considered particularly deserving of aid and promising as a colonist. This is one of several theses presented here in the hope of establishing new points of view in Georgia's early history. The book is confined to the period before 1789, and is primarily a study of the colonial and early state government.
For friendly encouragement and assistance in the preparation of this book, my thanks are due to a large number of persons. At Harvard University, Professors Henry A. Yeomans, Arthur N. Holcomb, and Benjamin F. Wright, Jr., made helpful suggestions as early drafts of the study developed into a doctoral dissertation. Unfailing courtesy was shown me by the staffs of the Widener Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Connecticut State Library. To Mr. Phillip Putnam of the Harvard Law