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Elliott, Bruce, 2004-2005: Emigrant Recruitment by the New Brunswick Land
The Pioneer Settlers of Stanley and Harvey.


Juvenile Recruitment

The New Brunswick Company's first colonization effort, in 1835-6, was one of the earliest exercises in juvenile emigration to what is now Canada.   The names of eleven boys brought out by the Company have been preserved by local historians, and they have come down in local memory as the "Blue Boys", with the explanation that they came from the so-called Blue Coat School, or Christ's Hospital in London, a Tudor establishment for disadvantaged children of the respectable classes.(13)  A Mrs Malone in the 1930s said that "it was only a few years since that she threw out the little beds in which the Blue Boys slept when they first came to Stanley."(14)  This construction of the facts is interesting because the boys did not come from Christ's Hospital, but rather from an asylum at Hackney Wick operated by the Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy, a London charity for children from much further down the social ladder.   Given that a few of the boys founded prominent New Brunswick families, this reworking of memory was probably an attempt later in life to distance themselves from contemporary "home children" who were commonly vilified as the dregs of English society.(15)   The SSJV was later renamed the Children's Friend Society, and the CFS may be said to have inaugurated in 1833 the emigration of the home children who were to become such a feature of assisted emigration to Canada (including the Maritimes) after 1869.(16)

The CFS sent parties to both New Brunswick and the Canadas, though much of its work - and attendant controversy - centred on the much greater numbers it sent to South Africa.   There the end of slavery had been forced on the Boers by the British administration, and some of the Dutch settlers treated the CFS children as "nothing more than English replacements for their foregone slaves".   Their arrival coincided with the Afrikaaner rebellion of 1835-6, and complaints from South Africa led to the collapse of the organization.(17)

(13) It was noted in 1861 that "the original foundation, doubtless, contemplated it for a poorer class than for whom custom and high character of the school have rendered it available for.   It is, perhaps, the most important educational establishment in the country."   Samuel Low, Jun., The Charities of London (London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston, 1861) on www.londonancestor.com/charity/college/christs-hospital.htm.


(14) Rev. Frank Baird, History of the Parish of Stanley and its Famous Fair (Fredericton, 1950), 89-91, identifies [Henry] Bendell, Richard Bellamy, --- Bloom, --- Cooper, John Harvey, George Howell, Chris Kelly, George Linnell, and John Thomas.   Ivan Saunders adds --- Glover and "Red Will" Thomas from the notes of Mrs Arthur Pringle, though he notes that there was some doubt about the last.   Ivan Saunders, "The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company and the Settlement of Stanley, New Brunswick" (UNB MA thesis, 1969), 213.   See also Velma Kelly, The village in the valley: a history of Stanley and vicinity (Stanley, 1983), 14.


(15) The first appearance of the Blue Coat School story was in the 1892 obituary of Richard Bellamy, a CFS boy who left Stanley for Lower Southampton, York County, and became a surveyor, lumberman, and member of the provincial legislation.   Fredericton Herald, 3 December 1892, quoted in Baird, Stanley, 124.  


(16) There is a large literature on home children, the most recent of which is Marjorie Kohli, The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939 (Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2003).


(17) Geoff Blackburn, The Children's Friend Society: Juvenile Emigrants to Western Australia, South Africa and Canada 1834-1842 (Northbridge, W.Aus: Access Press, 1993) , 255-6.