CHUBB, HENRY, printer, militia officer, newspaper publisher, businessman, politician, and justice of the peace; b. 1787 in Saint John, N.B., son of John Chubb and Mary ——; m. 14 July 1816 Jane Lugrin, sister of printer George Kilman Lugrin*, and they had three sons and three daughters; d. 20 May 1855 in Saint John.
Henry Chubb’s father and mother immigrated to British North America from Philadelphia in 1783. As a loyalist, John Chubb was granted a lot in Parrtown (Saint John) where he worked as a cordwainer and also served in the militia. In 1802 Henry Chubb began his apprenticeship at the offices of Jacob S. Mott*, king’s printer and publisher of the Saint John Royal Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser. After Mott’s death in 1814, Chubb managed the paper for his widow until she had to discontinue publication in 1815. On 2 May 1811 Chubb had begun his own newspaper, the New-Brunswick Courier. He formed a partnership with William Durant at some point but it was dissolved on 1 June 1822. For years the Courier consisted of advertisements, marine intelligence, and news items reprinted from foreign papers. By 1841, when his premises were destroyed by fire, Chubb’s News Room had become a popular meeting place. In 1842 Chubb formed a partnership with his eldest son, Henry John, and Samuel Seeds, who for many years acted as editor of the Courier. The enterprise was moved into a new brick building in 1846 on what is still known as “Chubb’s corner.” Since the late 1840s stocks, securities, and land have been auctioned outdoors on the corner, and until the 1860s the Chubb offices maintained their predominance as the business information centre in the city.
In 1831 Chubb had hired George Blatch to report the House of Assembly debates, and within two years the Courier had become the “organ for a popular feeling that was rapidly crystallizing into a political party with a clear objective”: the reform of imperial land policy, and in particular of the Crown Lands Office under Thomas Baillie*. From November 1832 to April 1833 the Courier published a series of satirical letters attacking Baillie by John Gape, the pseudonym of Robert Gowan*. After 1837, when the province began receiving large revenues from the sale of crown lands, and until 1848, with the advent of responsible government, the Courier also pressed for reforms in government expenditures, arguing that the assembly’s appropriations committees should give control of the budget for province-wide improvements to the Executive Council, which was now composed of elected members of the assembly; One of these improvements was railways and the Courier insisted that the price of New Brunswick’s support for the route along the northeast coast of the province, linking Halifax with the Canadas, should be a branch line from Shediac to Saint John.
Over the years the paper also encouraged reform in the treatment of Indians, campaigned for a standard provincial common-school system, cautiously supported the temperance movement, and pressed for reorganization of King’s College, Fredericton, as the non-denominational University of New Brunswick. The Courier approved of Lord Ashburton’s peaceful settlement of the New Brunswick–Maine boundary dispute in 1842, and it supported the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 because American markets were becoming increasingly important for natural products as imperial free-trade policies destroyed the colony’s protected position in the timber trade. After Chubb’s death the Courier continued to be concerned with markets for New Brunswick products. Even before the treaty ended in 1866, the newspaper, encouraged by the 1864 conferences at Charlottetown and Quebec, supported Samuel Leonard Tilley*’s plans to bring New Brunswick into confederation. It argued for the retention of local legislatures, to be subsidized by the federal government in any new arrangement.
In 1833 Chubb had been a founder of the Merchants’ Exchange, Saint John, and a shareholder in the New Brunswick Mining Company; in 1854 he bought stocks in the Saint John Fire Insurance Company which was established that year. He helped organize the Saint John Orphan Benevolent Society in 1840, and seven years later he and his wife donated property for the erection of a marine hospital. He served in the militia, acted as justice of the peace, and was the last mayor of Saint John (1850–53) to be appointed by the New Brunswick government.
Henry Chubb’s office was the training-ground for a generation of journalists, including the New York publisher Robert Sears and the New Brunswick editors Robert Shives* of the Amaranth and James Hogg* of the New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser. According to the obituary Hogg published in the Reporter, “Mr. Chubb has long been designated ‘the Father of the Press’ by his brotherhood of the craft.” After Chubb’s death, his surviving sons, Thomas and George James, continued the paper with Seeds, who died in 1864. The Courier was discontinued in July 1865 and George remained sole proprietor of the firm’s printing and bookselling operations until the great fire of 1877. In 1825 his father had printed Hogg’s Poems; religious, moral and sentimental and, in partnership with James Sears, produced Peter Fisher’s Sketches of New-Brunswick. George carried on the tradition of encouraging local literary activity by printing and underwriting George Stewart’s Stewart’s Literary Quarterly Magazine from 1867 to 1872. All the Chubb children died without issue.
N.B. Museum, E. B. Chandler papers, Henry Chubb to Chandler, 23 Sept. 1836; Chubb family papers; F51, no.32; Marine Hospital, cb doc.; Misc. index relating to biog., geneal., and hist. N.B. subjects; N.B. Hist. Soc. papers, packet 8, no.70; Reg. of marriages for the city and county of Saint John, book A (1810–28): 77; Tilley family papers, H. Chubb & Co. to S. L. Tilley, 30 April 1858. PAC, MG 23, D1, 61, book 6; 68, book 90; MG 24, A20, 3: ff.211–12, 243–46, 675; RG 8, I (C ser.), 1883: 57; 1884: 32, 38, 64, 73, 88; 1885, Nathaniel Vernon, muster rolls, 25 Oct.–24 Dec. 1781, 24 Feb.–24 April 1782. [Peter Fisher], Sketches of New-Brunswick . . . by an inhabitant of the province (Saint John, N. B., 1825), reprinted as Peter Fisher, The first history of New Brunswick (Saint John, 1921; repr. Woodstock, N.B., 1980). N.B., Acts, [1786–1836], 1833, c.12; The revised statutes of New Brunswick . . . (3v., Fredericton, 1854–55), 3: 447, 689–90. New-Brunswick Courier, 5 Feb. 1831; 20 March 1841; 3 Sept. 1842; 7 Feb. 1846; 1 Jan., 19 Feb. 1848; 17 March 1855; 24 Sept., 10 Dec. 1864; 7 Jan., 15 July 1865. New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser, 25 May 1855. Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, 5 Feb. 1835. J. R. Harper, Historical directory of New Brunswick newspapers and periodicals (Fredericton, 1961), xiv. W. G. MacFarlane, New Brunswick bibliography: the books and writers of the province (Saint John, 1895). Lorenzo Sabine, The American loyalists, or biographical sketches of adherents to the British crown in the war of the revolution . . . (Boston, 1847), 209. George MacBeath, Historic Chubb’s Corner (Saint John, [1966?]; copy at N.B. Museum). MacNutt, Atlantic prov.; New Brunswick. St. John and its business: a history of St. John . . . (Saint John, 1875), 179–80. George Stewart, “The history of a magazine,” in his Essays from reviews: 2nd series (Quebec, 1893), 126. P. B. Waite, The life and times of confederation, 1864–67: politics, newspapers, and the union of British North America (Toronto, 1962). E. C. Wright, The loyalists of New Brunswick (Fredericton, 1955; repr. Moncton, N.B., 1972), 269. J. R. Armstrong, “The Exchange Coffee House and St. John’s first club,” N.B. Hist. Soc., Coll. (Saint John), 3 (1907–14), no.7: 60–78. Dorothy Dearborn, “It takes style to run a good auction,” Telegraph-Journal (Saint John), 8 Dec. 1973: 13. D. R. Jack, “Acadian magazines,” RSC Trans., 2nd ser., 9 (1903), sect.ii: 173–203, especially 179; “Early journalism in New Brunswick,” Acadiensis (Saint John), 8 (1908): 250–65. J. S. Martell, “The press of the Maritime provinces in the 1830’s,” CHR, 19 (1938): 24–49.