TACHÉ (Tachêt), JEAN (Jean-Pascal), merchant and trader, member of the Grand Jury of the district of Quebec, notary; b. 1698 at Garganvilar (dept. of Tarn-et-Garonne), France, son of Étienne Taché, commissary for supplies at Saint-Malo, and Marguerite Dauzet; d. 18 April 1768 in Quebec.
Jean Taché was probably on his first voyage to Canada when he sailed from La Rochelle on 5 June 1727 for Quebec. He was coming to the colony to deal in furs as an associate of the La Rochelle merchant trader Jean-Pierre Lapeyre the younger, with whom he had been in partnership since 1724. Taché was back in France on 15 Dec. 1727. Towards the end of 1730 he settled permanently in the colony, although continuing his commerce with the mother country.
Taché, it seems, was rapidly successful in business and amassed a rather considerable fortune. It is difficult to list completely his activities, for, like many merchant traders in the colony, he diversified his investments enormously. In 1741 he was one of François-Étienne Cugnet’s creditors, and in the years following he was the owner of at least three ships, the Trinité, the Émérillon, and the Saint-Roch, that regularly sailed up the Labrador coast seeking cargoes of salt. At the same time he was dealing with merchant traders in Montauban such as the Mariette brothers, and with others in La Rochelle, Denis Goguet for example. Indeed, Taché stayed at the latter’s home when he went to France in 1753. He learned that same year that the king was indemnifying him completely for the loss of one of his ships that had been chartered to transport munitions to the posts along the borders of Acadia.
Taché did not confine himself to these activities, but also engaged in the fishing industry. In 1750 the minister, Rouillé, had refused him permission to operate the concession of the Île de la Madeleine for hunting walrus, but in 1756 he obtained the post of Saint-Modet on the Labrador coast and not that at Gros Mécatina, which went to the former intendant Hocquart*. Nevertheless, through his marriage to Marie-Anne Jolliet de Mingan, Taché received the income paid for the fishing rights to the concessions of Mingan and Gros Mécatina [see Pierre Révol]. Moreover, he operated through a lease the post on the Rivière Nontagamion (Nétagamiou), which belonged to Jacques de Lafontaine de Belcour and could produce annually about 800 skins and 100 barrels of oil.
From 1750 to 1753 Jean Taché was a militia captain in the government of Quebec. Because he had won his fellow-citizens’ confidence, he acted several times as attorney or arbitrator in disputes between merchants. In 1748 he acted as secretary for the merchant traders of Quebec, and in 1753 he became their syndic. He still held this office at the fall of Quebec, and it was in this capacity that, with François Daine, Jean-Claude Panet*, and other bourgeois and merchants, he signed shortly after 13 Sept. 1759 the petition addressed to Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay*, the king’s lieutenant, asking him to capitulate to save Quebec’s citizens from suffering still heavier losses should the British resume bombarding the town.
The capitulation of Quebec and France’s subsequent surrender of the colony in 1763 modified considerably Taché’s commercial activities. If he kept his interests in the concessions at Mingan and Saint-Modet, he does not seem to have operated them himself. Indeed, on 30 April 1762 he had leased the Saint-Modet post to John Ord, although confirmation of his ownership rights to that post was not given him by James Murray* until 16 May 1763.
Following the ordinance of 17 Sept. 1764 which created the legal system of the new British colony, Jean Taché was among the first Canadians to be called as members of the Grand Jury for the district of Quebec. It was in this capacity that a month later, together with other members of that jury, Canadian or British, he signed the report criticizing certain dispositions of the ordinance of 17 September. On 4 Feb. 1768 Governor Guy Carleton* granted him a commission as a notary. Taché practised his new profession for about two months only; he died on 18 April of that year.
The inventory of his possessions, made on 2 May 1768, shows that Taché did not leave many belongings; only his furniture shows the easy circumstances in which he had once lived. On 27 Aug. 1742, at Quebec, Jean Taché had married Marie-Anne, the daughter of Jean-Baptiste Jolliet* de Mingan and granddaughter of Louis Jolliet*; of this marriage at least ten children were born. Taché’s descendants, who included the politicians Jean-Baptiste* and Sir Étienne-Paschal,* the writer Joseph-Charles*, and the archbishop of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, Alexandre-Antonin*, bore their ancestor’s name honourably and took an active part in the development of French-Canadian society during the 19th century.
AN, Col., B, 83, f.35; 91, f.29; 97, ff.33, 48; 99, f.2; 100, f.17v; 102, f.55. ANQ, Greffe de R.-C. Barolet, 25 août 1742; Greffe de J.-C. Panet, 2 mai 1768; Greffe de Jean Taché, 1768; NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 4227 (66 pièces). Documents relating to Canadian currency during the French period (Shortt), II, 760–61. Documents relating to constitutional history, 1759–91 (Shortt and Doughty), I, 180–89. PAC Report, 1890, “State papers,” 31; 1921, app.D, 6, 25. “Les ‘papiers’ La Pause,” APQ Rapport, 1933–34, 218. “Recensement de Québec, 1744” (APQ Rapport). “Requête des négociants et bourgeois de Québec à M. de Ramezay,” APQ Rapport, 1922–23, 272 (plate). Bonnault, “Le Canada militaire,” APQ Rapport, 1949–51, 302. Létourneau et Labrèque, “Inventaire de pièces détachées de la Prévôté de Québec,” ANQ Rapport, 1971. P.-G. Roy, Inv. contrats de mariage, VI, 10; Inv. ord. int., II, III; Inv. testaments, II, 231. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Nish, Les bourgeois-gentilshommes.