GALIFFET DE CAFFIN, FRANÇOIS DE, military officer; governor of Trois-Rivières; b. 1666 in Provence, son of Pierre de Galiffet, seigneur of Honon, and Marguerite de Bonfils; d. in 1746, possibly at Avignon, France.
François de Galiffet came to New France in 1688 as an officer in the colonial regular troops, and the following year he was appointed commandant at Trois-Rivières. In 1692, in a memorandum to Governor Frontenac [Buade*] and Intendant Champigny [Bochart*], the king appointed Galiffet town major of Quebec. The young officer was threatened with dismissal two years later because of “his lack of discretion, his imprudence, and the misuse of his office to the point of impropriety.” He mended his ways, for in 1695 he was given command of the troops in Philippe de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil’s absence.
In the spring of 1699 he received his letters of appointment as king’s lieutenant at Montreal. Of the ten years he held this commission, Galiffet spent at least three in France, from 1706 to 1708, with the result that Pierre de Saint-Ours* was almost appointed king’s lieutenant in his stead. In 1708 the minister, Pontchartrain, extended his leave for another year to allow him to settle the estate of his brother, Joseph d’Honon de Galiffet, the former governor of Saint-Domingue (Hispaniola).
Galiffet returned to Canada in 1709 and was appointed governor of Trois-Rivières. In this capacity, in 1711 he re-established the garrison, which had been done away with four years earlier, and in 1712 he recommended giving the secular clergy charge of the parish there, which was held by the Recollets. This suggestion brought a severe reprimand from the minister, who told Galiffet that he knew “that he was not on good terms with the Recollets and that he was creating scandal with his habits.” Indeed, the parish priest, Father Joseph Denys*, accused him of keeping Marie-Anne Le Boulanger with him; in his own defence Galiffet replied “that this girl was of very good conduct and that she was necessary to him for the upbringing of his daughter and for taking care of his house.” Yielding to pressure from the civil and religious authorities, he finally had to send her back to her family. Scarcely was this affair settled than another scandal sullied the governor’s reputation: he was accused of having made pregnant the daughter of Jacques Hertel de Cournoyer, an ensign in the troops. Governor Vaudreuil intervened and on 2 Nov. 1716 he wrote to the council of Marine: “The Sieur Hertel de Cournoyer has assured me that he had no reason to complain of M. de Gallifet and that these complaints came from his father, who had been induced to make them through the solicitations of His Excellency the bishop.” The latter, in this case Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*], did not, apparently, think much of Galiffet’s conduct during his stay at Trois-Rivières.
François de Galiffet retired from the service in 1720 and returned to France. On 14 Jan. 1697, in Quebec, he had married Catherine, daughter of Charles Aubert* de La Chesnaye and Marie-Angélique Denys de La Ronde. She had died of smallpox in 1703, leaving a son and daughter. He himself died in 1746, probably in Avignon, where he had been living in retirement for many years.
In 1706 Governor Vaudreuil and Intendant Jacques Raudot* had written to the minister that the Sieur de Galiffet “was an honourable man.” Theirs was the finest tribute he had ever merited. His sense of morality might have been poor, but he had a sense of honour, which, indeed, had earned him the cross of the order of Saint-Louis in 1705.
AN, Col., B, 17, f.144v; 20, f.227v; 22, ff.271, 273v; 27, ff.31, 62v; 30, f.35; 33, f.123v; 34, f.32; 35, f.58; 36, ff.355v, 359v; 37, ff.166, 195v; 38, f.202v (copies at ANQ); C11A, 3, f.54; 4, f.97 (copies at PAC). Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 93. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I, 55, 294. Taillemite, Inventaire analytique, série B, I. P.-G. Roy, La famille de Galliffet (Lévis, Qué., 1917). Antoine Roy, “Visiteurs français de marque à Québec (1850–1885),” Cahiers des Dix, XXII (1957), 219–20.