GUILLOUET D’ORVILLIERS, RÉMY, officer who served in Canada and French Guiana; b. c. 1633, son of Jean Guillouet, a lawyer in the parlement, and of Marguerite Gascoing. In 1666, at La Rochelle, he married Anne-Marie Le Febvre, the legitimized daughter of Antoine Le Febvre* de La Barre, the future governor general of Canada. He died 18 Aug. 1713 at Cayenne (French Guiana).
In 1651 Orvilliers was an ensign in the Régiment de Conti; he was promoted captain in 1657, then he was transferred to the Régiment de Poitou. In 1667 he was in command of the five companies of this unit that were detached to the West Indies, with his headquarters on St Kitts Island. In 1669 he returned to France to serve in the Régiment d’Harcourt. He went to Canada in 1682 as captain of the guards of his father-in-law, Governor General Le Febvre de La Barre, and took part in the campaign against the Iroquois, commanding the rearguard. In 1685 Denonville [Brisay] appointed him commander of Fort Frontenac (Cataracoui), replacing Dauphin de La Forest, who was to “go to the Illinois on business for M. de La Salle [Cavelier*].” Guillouet took part in 1687 in the expedition against the Senecas, then returned to Fort Frontenac, where he was rejoined by his son Claude and in 1688 he went back to France.
His conduct was always judged favourably by his chiefs, and Father Charlevoix* could write: “M. d’Orvilliers, commandant of the post at Cataracoui, was one of the officers in the colony on whose prudence, ability, and steadfastness the governor generals of New France relied the most.”
Orvilliers continued his career in Guiana, where he was appointed a captain on 13 Jan. 1689 and king’s lieutenant on 18 Aug. 1690. In 1694 he spent some time in France, and on several occasions in 1697 and in the period 1700–1 he took over command during the absence of Governor Férolles. The latter reproached him for his lack of order but recognized his ability. On 9 March 1706 Orvilliers was appointed governor of Guiana, and in this office he was very active. No doubt relying upon his experience in Canada, he endeavoured to improve relations with the Indians by safeguarding their freedom, sending them Jesuit missionaries, giving them grants of land, and settling them in villages near Cayenne. He also assigned several officers to the task of exploring the interior of the country, which was virtually unknown at that time, and he fought against the claims of the Portuguese in the region of the Oyapock River. The Jesuit Father Gouyé, procurator of the missions in South America, praised him; the commissary, Albon, likewise declared that Orvilliers possessed many good qualities, despite his impetuous nature. Probably annoyed by Orvilliers’ stormy differences with the king’s lieutenant Grandval [Morthon], Pontchartrain [Phélypeaux] rebuked him on several occasions for governing too harshly. Orvilliers, who was made a knight of the order of Saint-Louis on 28 July 1705, left one son, Claude, who succeeded him as governor of Guiana.
AN, Col., B, 11, f.81v; 14, ff.75, 302, 544v; 18, ff.199, 586v; 21, ff.188, 349v, 437v, 690; 24, f.135v; 26, f.147; 28, ff.44, 49, 87, 157, 176, 212, 225, 448; 31, ff.50, 194, 287, 376, 456, 482, 623; 33, ff.30v, 62v, 96v; 34, ff.103, 104v, 116, 133, 135v; 35, ff.610v–616v; C11A, 2; C14, 3–7; Marine, C1, 161; C7, 231. Archives personnelles du général d’Esclaibes, château de Saternault, par l’Arbret (Pas-de-Calais). Charlevoix, Histoire (1744), II, 313. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire.