IMBERT, JACQUES, royal notary, merchant trader, agent of the treasurers-general of the Marine, councillor of the Conseil Supérieur; b. c. 1708 in France, son of Jean Imbert, police officer of the town of Montargis, and Edmée Chambrois; m. Agathe Trefflé, dit Rottot, in Quebec on 12 Aug. 1743; d. 8 Sept. 1765 at Branches, in the diocese of Sens, France.
Jacques Imbert came to Canada sometime between 1737 and 1740, under unknown circumstances. Around this time he served as writer in the office of the administration (office of the Marine) in Quebec. Having decided that he possessed “the necessary knowledge and ability,” Gilles Hocquart* appointed him to replace the royal notary Jacques Barbel* upon the latter’s death in July 1740. As notary Imbert was not particularly active; according to his register he signed only some 50 acts during his ten years in this profession. His office as notary would not alone have permitted him to live decently. For that reason, from 1740 to 1745 he filled at the same time the offices of writer, notary, and purveyor to the state. In the latter capacity he sold the colonial government in 1744 and 1745 more than 15,000 livres of merchandise for the shipbuilding yard in Quebec; in 1743 he had entered into partnership with three other Quebec merchants and had furnished the state at that time with more than 17,000 livres of merchandise for the construction of the ship Caribou.
After 1745 he left the office of the Marine to become assistant to Thomas-Jacques Taschereau, agent of the treasurers-general of the Marine in Canada. When Taschereau died on 25 Sept. 1749 Imbert succeeded him, first on a temporary basis, then officially from 1750 on by commission of the treasurers-general of the Marine. The post of agent in Canada did not leave him sufficient time to continue as notary, and on 17 Nov. 1750 he was replaced by François Moreau. As agent Imbert was responsible for settling the warrants for payment and promissory notes issued by the intendant. He also had to administer for the treasurers-general of the Marine in his personal capacity funds over which the intendant had no control; he kept his books as if they were for private accounts. This office thus left the agent a great deal of latitude in the use of the funds in his account, and he could borrow from them as he wished for his personal affairs, for unless there was a scandal it was only upon his death that the true state of his account could be determined exactly [see Georges Regnard* Duplessis; Nicolas Lanoullier de Boisclerc].
The office of agent was no sinecure, particularly towards the end of the French régime, when the mother country was sending more and more soldiers every year. In 1754 Imbert received “permission to go to France to improve his knowledge of his office and to receive new instructions,” in order to run in a more orderly fashion financial operations that were continually made more complicated by the increasing number of soldiers. In the report he presented to the minister of Marine, Machault, in Paris on 2 Feb. 1755 he stressed his need for an assistant capable of helping to keep accounts of the treasury of Canada up to date, in view of the mass of paper money in circulation which came back every year to the treasurer’s office for conversion into bills of exchange. In the spring of 1758 the treasurers-general of the Marine complied with his request and assigned him as his assistant Alexandre-Robert Hillaire* de La Rochette, in Canada since 1755 as secretary to the commissary of wars André Doreil. Imbert had returned to Canada in the spring of 1755 on the frigate Fidèle, along with Intendant François Bigot* and the assistant town major of Quebec, Michel-Jean-Hugues Péan*.
Jacques Imbert occupied one of the most important posts in the administration of New France; it was therefore quite normal that on 15 May 1754 the king should appoint him, as he had his predecessor Taschereau, councillor of the Conseil Supérieur. Being well acquainted with protocol, he was delegated, along with the councillors François Foucault, Guillaume Estèbe*, and Jean-Antoine Bedout, to go to “compliment” the Marquis de Vaudreuil [Pierre de Rigaud*] on his “safe arrival” in Canada on 23 June 1755. Another time the council put him in charge of the ceremonies for the Te Deum of thanksgiving, sung in the cathedral of Quebec on 22 Aug. 1756, for “the capture from the English of Fort de l’Étoile and the surrender of Chouaguen [Fort Oswego] on 13 and 14 Aug. 1756. “ In addition, from 15 Nov. 1756 to 20 Nov. 1758 Imbert was the commissary in charge of administering the royal prisons, having been appointed by his colleagues of the Conseil Supérieur.
After the conquest Jacques Imbert returned to France, and was at Nemours in July 1761. On 9 July 1764 he was commissioned by the minister of Marine, Choiseul, to supply certain information to aid in the redemption of the paper money for the years 1756, 1757, and 1758; on 29 Oct. 1758 documents concerning the expenses and receipts of the Domaine du Roi for these years had been put on board the Sauvage, which was captured by the English. Imbert died at Branches on 8 Sept. 1765.
Through hard work, intelligence, and a sense of order, Jacques Imbert was able to climb the various ranks of the financial administration of New France. During his career he associated with people in this field as important as Jean-Victor Varin* de La Marre, commissary and controller of the Marine, Joseph de Fleury de La Gorgendière, agent of the Compagnie des Indes, and Thomas-Jacques Taschereau, agent of the treasurers-general.
AN, Col., B, 66, f.244v; 99, f.183; 102, f.202v; 107, f.22; 116, ff.140–40v; 122, ff.232–32v, 336v; 144, f.519; C11A, 115, ff.34ff., 105v; 120, ff.333, 350v; E, 227 (dossier Jacques Imbert) (copies at PAC). ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Imbert, 1740–1749; Greffe de J.-C. Louet, 10 août 1743; NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 2096, 2144; NF, Ord. int., XXVIII, 72v–73. Documents relating to Canadian currency during the French period (Shortt), II. P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, VI; VII, 4–5; Inv. ord. int., III, 134, 152, 160. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Nish, Les bourgeois-gentilshommes, 67–68. P.-G. Roy, Bigot et sa bande, 278–81.