THE NEW BRUNSWICK LAND COMPANY
The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company, organized in 1831 and chartered in 1834, was the New Brunswick counterpart of Ontario's Canada Company and Quebec's British American Land Company. Despite its name, the Company appears not to have operated in Nova Scotia. All these corporations exercised a responsibility, delegated by the colonial administration, to open up and settle large tracts of land at the expense, and for the profit, of their English shareholders. The attraction for the colonial governments was that the companies provided a large infusion of capital to executives locked in combat with their elected assemblies over the control of other forms of colonial revenue. Always unpopular with elected representatives, the companies found themselves at their mercy once control of Crown lands passed, at British instigation, from executive to legislature.
The New Brunswick Company purchased a tract of 589,000 acres in York County north of Fredericton. The tract comprised all the lands in the county north of the St John River and west of the Nashwaak and of the portage road to the South West Miramichi (now Highway 8), less the most accessible lands, which already had been granted away.
Just as the Canada Company established the towns of Guelph and Goderich in Ontario, and the British American Land Company the town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, so the New Brunswick Company spent £80,000 preparing two townsites 18 miles apart: Stanley, on the Nashwaak 25 miles north of Fredericton, and Campbellton on the Miramichi (now Bloomfield Ridge). Company agents surveyed the townsites, built mills and houses, and began work on the roads, but less was accomplished than Company literature promised. Of the two, only Stanley achieved modest success as a magnet for settlers.
To populate its lands, the New Brunswick Company during the 1830s made four concerted attempts at direct overseas recruitment. The first targeted poor children institutionalized in London, the second farm labourers and tradesmen in the eastern Borders between England and Scotland. The third party was recruited, disastrously, in the Scottish highlands, and the fourth was a second party from the Borders. The first three parties were settled in and around Stanley, with varying degrees of success; the fourth escaped the Company's control and founded Harvey, south of Fredericton.