GNB
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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The Work Begins Juvenile Immigrants

The Company's First Colonization Effort

In 1835 the land company began recruiting settlers for the New Brunswick land tract. During the first two years, several dozen juveniles from Britain arrived in the fledgling Stanley settlement. Eleven of the boys have been referred to as the "Blue Boys", because it was initially thought they came from the so-called Blue Coat School or Christ's Hospital in London, an institution for "disadvantaged children of the respectable classes."

Recent research, however, has concluded that the boys actually hailed from an asylum at Hackney Wick operated by the Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy.* This charitable institution was founded in London by American-born Edward Pelham Brenton in 1830. Later renamed the Children's Friend Society, the asylum attempted to provide shelter for pauper children, to teach them a trade, and to find them employment. By 1832, however, the society's directors realized that securing work for all their charges in England was next to impossible. So they began to look overseas for placement opportunities.

* See The Golden Bridge : Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939 by Marjorie Kohli, Toronto : Hignell Book Printing, 2003, or "Emigrant Recruitment by the New Brunswick Land Company: The Pioneer Settlers of Stanley and Harvey" by Bruce S. Elliott, Generations, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Winter 2004).