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Joseph-Charles Taché

Photograph of Joseph-Charles Taché


Joseph-Charles Taché.

(December 24, 1820 - April 16, 1894)

Joseph-Charles Taché devoted himself to the advancement of French-Canadian culture as a politician, public servant and literary figure. His articles on the union of British North American colonies were widely read, and likely informed the 72 Resolutions drafted at the Québec Conference in 1864.

Born at Kamouraska, in Lower Canada, Joseph-Charles Taché was the nephew of Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché, a Father of Confederation. Like his uncle, Taché studied medicine and practised as a physician for 12 years in Rimouski. He married Françoise Lepage in 1847 and together they had six children. In 1848 he became the local representative to Canada's Legislative Assembly as a supporter of Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. Taché's political success continued in the general elections of 1851 and 1854. However, his conservative views were becoming increasingly unpopular among his constituents, and he finally resigned in 1856.

During his time in office, Taché took a particular interest in the improvement of provincial roads and waterways. He also represented Canada at the 1855 exposition in Paris and was made a knight of the Legion of Honour by Napoléon III. Yet Taché was best known for his literary skills, which he put to use in order to mock adversaries such as Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion.

In 1857 he began editing the newspaper Le courrier du Canada. In it, Taché recorded his views on issues of importance to French-Canadian culture and politics, including the proposed union of British North America. Taché favoured federal union over American annexation, but warned of the union's consequences for French culture in Canada. In 1857 Taché published a series of articles that have been identified as perhaps the most thorough and insightful assessment of the union initiative in the years leading up to the Charlottetown, Québec and London conferences.

Apart from influencing Canada's political development, Taché played a vital role in Canadian cultural development by participating in initiatives such as the foundation of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste of Quebec in 1842. He also contributed to the cultivation of a national literature as the author of numerous books, and through his contributions to Les soirées canadiennes : recueil de littérature nationale. This Québec periodical, launched in 1861, featured fiction, poetry and traditional tales that were intended to confirm and advance a uniquely Canadian literary culture.

Taché's prominent contribution to Canadian public life was recognized in 1864 with his appointment as deputy minister of agriculture and statistics, a department led at that time by a fellow champion of national cultural interests, Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Taché's career in the civil service spanned almost 25 years.


Nadeau, Jean-Guy. -- "Taché, Joseph-Charles." -- Dictionary of Canadian biography online [online]. -- [Cited December 13, 2004]. -- Access: