New Brunswick. Commission to Inquire into the Losses Occasioned by the Late Destructive Fires in this Province.

Abstract: Report of Commission to Inquire into the Losses Occasioned by the Late Destructive Fires in this Province, 1826

In October 1825, fires destroyed a considerable amount of property in the Miramichi, Fredericton, and Oromocto. In February of the following year, a Commission was struck to carry out a few principle tasks with respect to the fires: to get a sense of those who lost property in the conflagrations; to figure out a system to apportion funds to those deserving recipients; and, to catalogue those who made contributions to the "Fund for the Relief of the Sufferers".

Five Commissioners were assigned to the effort, Ward Chipman, Harry Peters, Richard Simonds, Thomas Peters, and H. G. Clopper. From their report, it is clear that the Mirimachi suffered much more significant losses than the other two areas, with losses totaling nearly £200 000 compared to Fredericton's total of slightly more than £25 000 and Oromocto's losses of £5 000. Though some money had already been distributed - and more would be in the future - the Commission's duty in this regard was to distribute a sum of £20 000 among the three cities.

In their report, the Commissioners argued that not all claims for compensation should be judged merely on the amount lost, but "upon the character and condition of the sufferers, and the means they still possess". Those judged to have been of special need were farmers, labourers, lumberers, mechanics, widows, and single women. This, the report went on to state, was not to suggest that others were not eligible for compensation, but that the above five categories would have to be attended to first.

h.c.

Commissioners:
George Shore
Ward Chipman
Harry Peters
Richard Simonds
Peter Thomas Horsfield.

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