Henri Luce Manuel

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Henri Luce Manuel (1818—75) was with Centenier George Le Cronier when he was stabbed to death while they were trying to arrest a couple who ran a brothel.

Family

He was the grandson of Matthieu Manuel, native of Beziers in France, who had settled in Jersey, and the son of a tanner, Henri Manuel, and Betty Jenny Pickstock, the daughter of privateer Thomas Pickstock.

From 1839 to 1846 he was a Constable's Officer in St Helier. In his last year of office he went with Centenier Le Cronier to arrest a brothel-keeper at Gorey. She stabbed Le Cronier to death, and pursued Manuel, a little man, down the street with the blood-stained knife.

In 1842 he was appointed Registrar for St Helier. In 1844 he was admitted a Notary. In 1846 he became Surveillant, and from 1858—72 he was Procureur du Bien Public.

Toward the end of his life he became a partner in the English and Jersey Union Bank.

Journalism

As a young man, he made an unfortunate incursion into journalism. He allowed his name to appear as proprietor of a new English paper, the Jersey Gazette, though the real owners were a group of men who preferred to remain anonymous.

In April 1840 the paper called Jean de la Croix, editor of the Constitutionnel, a penny-a-liner. De La Croix went to Manuel's house, and violently assaulted him. In June the paper made an absurd attack on one of Dean Jeune's sermons, accusing him of advocating the assassination of Queen Victoria. Jeune sued him for libel, claiming £4,000 damages, but after several hearings the case seems to have been dropped.

Manuel was more in his element as the moving spirit in various cultural Societies. He was secretary of the Societe d'Emulation, which offered an annual £10 prize for the best essay on some subject connected with Jersey. The prize essay in 1845, Trehounais' L'histoire, La topographie, La constitution, Las moeurs, et le langage de Jersey, was considered so useful that it was printed at La Société Jersiaise's expense.

Collector

In 1850 Manuel was secretary of the committee that tried to establish a permanent exhibition of Jean Le Capelain's pictures. In 1871 he was secretary of the loan section of the Channel Islands Exhibition, and the exhibits that he lent showed that he had been a diligent gleaner of local relics.

They included a collection of the earliest Jersey newspapers, of old local caricatures, of old proclamations, and of Jersey banknotes.

But his chief fame rests on his dialect poems, which he always signed merely ‘L’.

He died in his house in Duhamel Place on 2 December 1875. He had married Elizabeth de Veulle.

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