Cadet, Joseph-Michel

Joseph-Michel Cadet, butcher, military provisioner (b at Québec City 24 Dec 1719; d at Paris, France 31 Jan 1781). Born of generations of butchers, Cadet worked first for his uncle, a Québec butcher, and became the Crown's purveyor of meat in 1745. Two wars and the increase in the colony's garrisons expanded his trade and opportunities. In 1749 he received a monopoly as beef retailer at Québec and in 1756 became general contractor for military provisions in Canada. His rise owed much to his shrewdness and willingness to take risks. His business expanded and the ships he bought and hired kept the colony supplied until 1759.

In 1760 he left for France, where he and others were arrested for embezzling government funds. After paying nearly 4 million livres "in restitution," he lived as a country gentleman in France. He is regarded as either the greatest profiteer under Intendant François BIGOT or a luckless scapegoat for the loss of New France.