PAGÉ, dit Carcy, JACQUES, silversmith, watch-maker; b. 11 Dec. 1682 in Quebec, son of Guillaume Pagé, dit Carcy, a maker of edge tools, and Elisabeth Letartre; m. 9 Sept. 1715 in Quebec Marie-Louise Roussel; d. 2 May 1742 in his birthplace.
Jacques Pagé, dit Carcy, apprenticed as a silversmith in rather special circumstances. It was, in fact, thanks to an ordinance issued by the intendant, Jacques Raudot*, on 2 May 1708 that Pagé was able to apprentice to the master silversmith Michel Levasseur*. Since his arrival in Canada around 1699 Levasseur had taught the “mysteries” of his craft to a single apprentice, Pierre Gauvreau. Now Levasseur intended to leave Canada in 1708, without training any other silversmiths, in keeping with his agreement with Gauvreau to “teach his craft to no one but him.” Informed of the terms of this contract and of the master silversmith’s decision to leave Canada, the intendant decided that it was “contrary to the public good, which requires, at least for a craft such as this one, that there be two persons practising it.” Thus, knowing Jacques Pagé’s talent “through several objects that he has already made with his own hands and his natural ability,” Raudot made Levasseur take Pagé as an apprentice until the silversmith left for France. On the same day as Raudot issued the ordinance Levasseur signed before the notary Jacques Barbel* a contract with Pagé, according to the intendant’s requirements.
A few years later, in 1712, Pagé went to France, where he wanted to practise the silversmith’s craft. But despite his request in 1713 to the minister of Marine, Pontchartrain, to be allowed to set up in business in Paris, he ran up against the opposition of the corporation of silversmiths of the capital. This refusal should not be attributed to Pagé’s Canadian origins, but to his lack of experience in his craft. In 1664, to promote emigration to New France, the authorities in the mother country had decided to grant the privilege of masterhood in all the towns of the kingdom to those artisans who had “exercised their art and crafts in America for ten years.” Jacques Pagé was not entitled to this privilege, even if he claimed he was, for he had been a silversmith only since 1708. Realizing the futility of his application, he returned to the colony and set himself up in business permanently there.
He was already back in Quebec by 1714; his name is mentioned that year in the account books of the church of Notre-Dame. In September 1715 he married Marie-Louise Roussel, and the following year, according to the census of Quebec, he was living with his wife in a house on Rue de la Montagne. This same census tells us that Pagé was not only a silversmith but also a watch maker. Where or how he learned this other craft is not known, but he was probably already practising it when he was taken on as an apprentice by Levasseur in 1708. It is, moreover, possible, considering the scarcity of watch-makers in New France, that Pagé worked all his life at repairing watches and clocks. According to the inventory of his belongings made by Jacques-Nicolas Pinguet de Vaucour in 1742, at the time of his death, Pagé was still in possession of “the tools used in the watch-maker’s craft.” The same document also mentions that among Pagé’s books was a “treatise on clocks and watches.”
In the period 1718–28 Jacques Pagé made several pieces of silver for the religious communities and churches in Quebec and the surrounding region. An ordinance by François Clairambault* d’Aigremont, the acting intendant, in 1728, informs us that Pagé was still exercising his silversmith’s craft, since he was asked, along with the silversmith Jean-Baptiste Deschevery, dit Maisonbasse, to weigh “the silver plate of Monsieur [Claude-Thomas Dupuy*].” After that date little is known of Pagé’s activities. A great number of documents refer to him as a merchant silversmith or simply “a bourgeois, of Quebec.” Through several petitions that he made in 1730 to the Conseil Supérieur we know that he was for some time “churchwarden in charge of Notre-Dame de Québec.” But he had perhaps not given up his craft entirely, since the inventory after his death mentions a great number of silversmithing tools and pieces of silver plate that Pagé kept in his home.
Jacques Pagé, dit Carcy, died in Quebec on 2 May 1742, without leaving any descendants. This silversmith had acquired a good reputation, if we are to judge by the numerous references to him in the account books of the religious communities and parishes in the region. Several objects in various collections in the province are attributed to him, among which are some forks and spoons, a cup, some salvers, and a ciborium. The Musée du Québec owns four pieces of Pagé’s work, two soup spoons, a fork, and a salver with the stamp I P above reversed C, crowned with a fleur-de-lis.
AJQ, Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Québec, 11 déc. 1682, 9 sept. 1715, 3 mai 1742. AN, Col., B, 35, ff.101, 134, 180. ANDQ, Livres de comptes, 1709–1724. ANQ, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar de Saint-Martin, 18 mars 1712; Greffe de Jacques Barbel, 2 mai 1708; Greffe de J.-N. Pinguet de Vaucour, 18 juin, 17 août 1742. IOA, Dossier Jacques Pagé, dit Carcy, orfèvre. Recensement de Québec, 1716 (Beaudet). P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I, 62; II, 320; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, I, 12; II, 94, 121; IV, 51. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Langdon, Canadian silversmiths. Morisset, Coup d’œil sur les arts. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Orfèvres et bijoutiers du régime français,” BRH, XXXVI (1930), 31. Gérard Morisset, “Jacques Pagé dit Quercy (1682–1742),” Technique (Montréal), XXV (1950), 589–600.