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Thomas Bray papers


Thomas Bray papers
Bray, Thomas
Collection number:
4.00 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was a leading figure in the Church of England in colonial Maryland. The collection includes information on colonial religion, libraries, and the Anglican Church Establishment Act contained in petitions, meeting minutes, correspondence, and theological tracts.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Thomas Bray papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Alternate formats:

Digital copies of the documents and letters in this collection are available at in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was a leading figure in the history of the Church of England, founding the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (S. P. G.) and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S. P. C. K.). In 1696 Bray was appointed Commissary of the Bishop of London for the Anglican Church in Maryland. He remained in London until 1699 attempting to obtain royal approval for two successive Acts of the Maryland Legislature for the creation of a tax-supported Anglican establishment. He spent the spring and summer of 1700 returning to London with a new Act that was approved by William III.

Bray was interested in seeing the clergy supplied with theological books and designed a system of parish and provincial collections from which books could be borrowed. The books were heavily theological but a selection of non-theological subjects was planned. Books from these collections could be borrowed by the laity.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of Thomas Bray cover the period 1697 to 1705 and consist of minutes, petitions, proposals, legislation, correspondence, catalogs, and lists. A number of the documents in the collection describe conditions of life and the state of the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include Quakers, clergy, libraries, the Anglican Church Establishment Act, and plans for the financial support of the clergy.

The documents have been described individually.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The papers of Thomas Bray were purchased by the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in 1979.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed in December 1979.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Janna Roinson, June, 2005.

Arrangement of Collection

This collection is organized as one series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Documents, 1697-1705 (4.00 linear feet)

The papers of Thomas Bray cover the period 1697 to 1705 and consist of minutes, petitions, proposals, legislation, correspondence, catalogs, and lists. A number of the documents in the collection describe conditions of life and the state of the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include Quakers, clergy, libraries, the Anglican Church Establishment Act, and plans for the financial support of the clergy.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Proposals for the Encouragement and Promoting of Religion and Learning in the Foreign Plantations. The Present State of the Protestant Religion in Maryland -- (Provision for a library in each Anglican parish; establishment of a Free School in each county for the education of native clergymen) (Online), 1697 series 1box 1folder 1
At the Court of Kensington -- (Royal Veto of an "Act for the Service of Almighty God and ye Establishment of ye Protestant Religion within the Province." Also an (Order of Council) (Online), November 30, 1699 series 1box 2folder 1
The Acts of Dr. Bray's Visitation, held at Annapolis in Mary Land -- (Meetings with the clergy, list of attendants, resolutions, petition) (Online), May 23-25, 1700 series 1box 3folder 1
Annapolis Free School -- (Minutes of Meeting to elect governors, discuss the question of a Building and appoint a committee to examine accounts) (Online), May 7, 1700 series 1box 4folder 1
Reply to Quaker objections to an Anglican Church establishment in Maryland -- ("A Short State of the Case of the Church in Maryland with Respect to the Law of Religion") (Online), 1700 series 1box 5folder 1
A Memorial Representing the Present Case of the Church in Maryland, With Relation to its Establishment by Law, 1700 (Online) series 1box 5folder 2
A Charge given to the Clergy of Maryland at their Visitation Holden At Annapolis -- (General Survey of Anglican theology) (Online), May, 1700 series 1box 6folder 1
A list of His Majesty's Councill of Maryland and the Burgesses of the General Assembly. . . with Remarques who are supposed to be for and Who against the Act for the fourty p. poll for the support of the Ministry Of the Church of England (Online), circa 1700 series 1box 7folder 1
Whereas the Inhabitants of Mary Land are become very numerous. . ., -- (Petition to Parliament requesting exemption of the commissary and Superintendent of the Anglican Church from customs duties on Tobacco) (Online), circa 1700 series 1box 8folder 1
The Layman's Library: Being a Lending Library for the Use of the Laity -- (Each title gives a summary of contents and number of copies for the Library) (Online), circa 1700 series 1box 9folder 1
Letters to Commissary James Blair -- (Complain against Mr. Whateley who had been offensive on his journey To Maryland) (Online), April 3, 1700 series 1box 10folder 1
Richard Smith to Reverend Hugh Jones -- (Regarding dispute over plantation property belonging to Christ Church Parish) (Online), April 2, 1700 series 1box 11folder 1
An Abstract of the Law in Maryland (South Carolina, Bermuda) Relating to Libraries -- (Providing for the proper care of the libraries Bray had sent to the Colonies) (Online), 1700 series 1box 12folder 1
A Memorial Representing the Necessity of Constituting a Suffragan Bishop in Mary Land (Online), 1700 series 1box 13folder 1
A Memorial Representing the present State of the Church and Clergy Of Mary Land, the want of a better provision for the Parochial Ministers, And of a superintendent with sufficient powers to preside over them -- (Supplement to the printed Memorial; enumerates advantages to Britain of Maryland as source of tobacco and a market for goods. Suggests each parish be provided with a glebe (farm), whose produce Would support the clergyman) (Online), 1700 series 1box 14folder 1
John Povey to Thomas Bray -- (Alerts Bray to the fact that the Quakers would appear before the Counsell in opposition to the bill for establishing religious worship in Mary Land. Also a Copy of the Order of Councill regarding the Hearing and a letter from Bray, June 5, 1700, requesting papers Related to this proceeding) (Online), May 24, 1701 series 1box 15folder 1
A Catalogue of Books sent with Mr. Demilian, April 24, 1701, on Board the Southampton man of Warr Capt. Moody Comr. Bound for Virginia to found a library at Nangemy in Charles County, Maryland -- (Theological subjects. Receipt by Gabriel D'Emilliane) (Online), 1701 series 1box 16folder 1
A catalogue of books sent to Nangemy, Charles County, Maryland, By Mr. D'Emilliane towards the Laymans' Library there -- (37 titles, multiple copies. Receipt by Gabriel d'Emillianne) (Online), 1701 series 1box 17folder 1
A catalogue of Books sent to St. Mary's -- Mary Land by Mr. Baron on Board the Southampton -- (Theological titles. Receipt by Humbertson Baron. Also various other Libraries at Herring Creek, All Saints, Christ Church, St. George's, All Hallows, Pickawaxen, St. Paul, St. Michael's, King and Queen's Parish) (Online), May 6, 1701 series 1box 18folder 1
A Memorial Shewing what a false Computation the Quakers made Of the charge in maintaining the clergy in Mary Land to render their Legal establishment the more invidious (Online), circa 1701 series 1box 19folder 1
A Letter from Dr. Bray, to such as have contributed towards the Propagating Christian Knowledge in the Plantations -- (Explanation of his return to England to help obtain royal assent To a bill for an Anglican Church establishment in Mary Land, Recruit carpenters, bricklayers and joiners to build churches and Parsonages) (Online), 1701 series 1box 20folder 1
A Letter to Nathaniel Blackistone -- (Sends first draft of Maryland church law, the campaign of Quakers against it, information about clergymen) (Online), July 15, 1701 series 1box 21folder 1
A Letter to the Clergy of Maryland -- (Regarding the royal approval for the church, the Quakers) (Online), May 20, 1701 series 1box 22folder 1
A Memorial shewing the necessity of one to Superintend the Church and Clergy in Mary Land -- (Plan for the support of a Commissary representing the Bishop Of London based on 500 acres of land, attendants, stock, etc. Subscriptions; articles on agreement with Lord Baltimore) (Online), February, 1701 series 1box 23folder 1
A Memorial representing the Present State of Religion on the Continent of North America -- (Maryland, Pennsylvania, East and West New Jersey, New York, Long Island, Rhode Island, North and South Carolina, Bermuda, Newfoundland. Recommends increase in clergy) (Online), 1701 series 1box 24folder 1
Bibliothecae Americanae Quadripartitae -- (Survey of knowledge; plan of the degrees of libraries including the Parish library. The Deanery of Lending Library, the provincial library And the Bibliotheca Provincialis of Chief Library in every province with A collection of books in all parts of useful knowledge) (Online), 1702 series 1box 25folder 1
Letter to Major William Dent -- (Reports success in obtaining royal assent to church establishment Act, Quakers attempt to defeat it, poor quality of Maryland clergy, schemes Of ecclesiastical organization and patronage) (Online), March 10, 1702/3 series 1box 26folder 1
Letter to Colonel Quarry -- (Regarding financial transactions in Maryland, stocking the plantation With Negro workers) (Online), August 27, 1703 series 1box 27folder 1
Letter to Thomas Smithson -- (Compliments Smithson on his part in obtaining Royal assent, failure Of Marylanders to provide support, scandal of the clergy and a proposal Of a good parish for the commissary) (Online), August 27, 1703 series 1box 28folder 1
A memorial representing the rise progress and issue of Dr. Bray's Activities in Maryland (Online), 1705 series 1box 29folder 1
A True Narrative or Memorial Representing the Rise Progress and Issue of Dr. Bray's Missionary Undertaking, with other Insidents. . ., -- (Part I -- Containing what past from Dr. Bray's first acceptance of The office of Commissary of Maryland in the year 1696 till his Arrival in 1699) (Online), 1695-1699 series 1box 30folder 1
An Order of Council, January 4, 1695, January 4, 1695 series 1box 30folder 1item 1
Directions for the Use and Preservation of the Library Sent with his Excellency the Earl of Bellamont to New York in America., Undated series 1box 30folder 1item 2
A general plan of the constitution of a Protestant congregation Or society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, Undated series 1box 30folder 1item 3
A general plan of a penitential hospital for the employing and reforming of lewd women, Undated series 1box 30folder 1item 4
A memorial wherein is exhibited a view of the Original Institution and Jurisdiction of Rural Deanes, Undated series 1box 30folder 1item 5
To the Right Honourable and Reverend (Bishop of London), Undated series 1box 30folder 1item 6
Letter to Colonel Quarry -- (This letter relates to Francis Nicholson, Governor of Virginia. Nicholson is not named, but it is clear from the letter that he is the person in question. In this letter Bray talks about the complaints that have reached London about Governor Nicholson. (Online), circa 1702-1703 series 1box 31folder 1
Letter to the [Bishop of London] -- Appeal to unnamed bishop for the establishment of libraries and the support of home missions (Online), 1705 series 1box 32folder 1
Resolution, Isle of Man, August 23, 1704 -- resolution thanking Bray for laying the foundations of parochial libraries across the country (Online), August 23, 1704 series 1box 33folder 1
Privy Council Document -- Document proposing two acts: the act to prevent the growth of Popery within Maryland, passed October 1704, and the act to suspend the prosecution of any priests of the Communion of the Church of Rome for a period no less than eighteen months (Online), 1705 series 1box 34folder 1

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