Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Sir Étienne Paschal Taché

Father of Confederation



Taché, Sir Étienne Paschal (1795-1865), statesman, was born at St. Thomas, Lower Canada, in 1795, the third son of Charles Taché of Montmagny, and through his paternal grandmother a descendant of Louis Jolliet. He was educated at the Quebec Seminary; and he fought on the British side throughout the War of 1812. He then studied medicine, and for many years was a country doctor in his native parish. In 1841 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Canada for the county of L'Islet, and he sat for this county until 1846. From 1846 to 1848 he was deputy adjutant-general of militia for Lower Canada, with the rank of colonel; but in 1848 he re-entered political life as commissioner of public works in the Baldwin-Lafontaine administration, and was appointed a member of the Legislative Council. In 1849 he changed his portfolio for that of receiver-general; and this portfolio he retained in the successive Baldwin-Lafontaine, Hincks-Morin, MacNab-Morin, MacNab-Taché and Taché-Macdonald administrations until his retirement from office in 1857. From 1856 to 1857 he was also technically prime minister, though the real head of the government was John A. Macdonald. From 1857 to 1864 Taché continued a member of the Legislative Council; and in 1858 he was created a knight bachelor, and in 1860 an aide-de-camp of the Queen, with the honorary rank of colonel in the British Army. In 1864, however, he was called from his retirement to become again prime minister in the second Taché-Macdonald administration; and, on the defeat of this government in June, 1864, he was pressed into service as the technical prime minister in the "Great Coalition." As such, he presided at the Quebec Conference; but before Confederation had been accomplished, he died at St. Thomas on July 30, 1865. He wrote Quelques réflexions sur l'organisation de volontaires ( Quebec, 1863). See M. O. Hammond, Confederation and its leaders (Toronto, 1917).


Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., "Sir Étienne Paschal Taché," The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. VI, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 398p., p. 97.




© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College