About Louis Manigault

About the author: Louis Manigault (November 21, 1828 November 22, 1899), from Charleston, South Carolina. Co-founded Alpha Sigma Phi in Yale.

Louis Manigault was the son of a distinguished and well-to-do family of rice-planters in South Carolina. His ancestors were Hugguenots driven out of France in the seventeenth century by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They had played an illustrious part in the history of Charleston and built in their prosperous days some of the most beautiful houses still to be seen in that unique city. As Manigault’s father, Charles Manigault, had made 2 trip around the world, visiting India, China, the Philippines, and South America in the years about 1820, it was natural that Louis, with a marked instinct for filial piety, should wish to follow in his foot-steps thirty years later.

At the age of twenty-two, shortly after his graduation from Yale College, Louis Manigault embarked in the clipper Oriental for what proved a record-breaking voyage of 89 days from New York to Canton. A few months in Canton and Shanghai were followed, at the turn of the year 1850, by the visit to the Philippines here recorded. Subsequently, Manigault returned to China and proceeded to California, still in the first flush of its gold discoveries, by the almost unknown route across the North Pacific which these discoveries had opened to commerce. He had some adventurous and amusing experiences in the gold-diggings before pursuing to its end the trail blazed by his father, travelling down the west coast of South America and
across the Andes and eventually home over the Isthmus of Panama.

About the diary: Visit from December 8, 1850 to February 12, 185, as Printed in Philippine Magazine, 1941:

The record of these journeys is contained in a large Journal written for the entertainment of his family at home and bound, together with many souvenirs of his wanderings, in a volume of several hundred pages, This volume, which had been sent to what was thought to be a place of safety shortly before the Manigault estate was destroyed by Sherman’s army in the War between the States, narrowly escaped the same fate, A note in the preface tells how a faithful slave, Captain, fetched it out of Columbia just before the ruthless burning of that beautiful old town

In the Confederate War the Manigault family, like many another great family of the South, was largely impoverished. The Journal remained as one of their few surviving heirlooms, and it is due to the kindness of Louis Manigault’s grandson, DeHawkins King Jenkins, that these pages are made available to the readers of the PHILIPPINE MAGAZINE. Dr. Jenkins spent some years in the Philippines, ministering as physician and surgeon to those same Igorots of whom his grandfather had vaguely heard and whom he had likened by reputation to the virile Maori tribesmen of New Zealand.

Duke University is the repository of Louis Manigault Papers, but does not seem to include the diary mentioned above.