Patrice De Janon
Professor, United States Military Academy
de Janon of South America
Appointed from New York, Sword Master, United States Military Academy, 6 January 1846
Professor, United States Military Academy, 1 July 1857
Out of service, 16 September 1863 to 4 March 1865
Retired with pay of Colonel, United States Army, 30 June 1882
Died 15 January 1892
From George D. Blakey to Abraham Lincoln [With Endorsement by Lincoln]
December 24, 1864:
"Bowling Green, Decr 24th 1864
"Dear Sir: A short time since I did myself the honor to address you a communication in behalf of a relative P de Janon late Professor of Spanish at West Point.2 At that time I had but superficially read all the papers & testimonials in the case, including of course the report of General Delafield3 made to you under date of 16th July last.
"Since then however I have given the whole subject careful attention, and the more I look at the garbled but ingeniously worded statements of Genl Delafield the more outrageous & offensive they become. That document when well considered loses its force as against Mr de Janon at whom it was aimed and at once becomes a terrible weapon against Genrl Delafield himself. It plainly shows that he in order to conjure up and fabricate an assault upon a diligent faithful & unoffending Professor of the Military Academy was engaged in the unbecoming & disreputable work of pimping for gossip among the pupils of Mr de Janon and especially among those who had been sent before him as superintendent for reprimand. This is clearly shown in the case of Cadet Rodgers who seems to be the source of the General's boldest assault upon Mr de Janon.
"All these statements received by Genl Delafield some four or five or seven years ago, and at a time when it was his official duty to take notice of them by arraigning the Professor for a dereliction of duty, he shows that he took no notice of them either for the purpose of enquiry or correction. But now when asked for a reason of record for the dismissal of Mr de Janon he serves up in a long-winded report these ill gotten gleanings The truth of it is there is something obviously very wrong in the whole tenor of General Delafields report, and when compared to the abundant proofs and bright array of testimonials from the very best of sources many of its statements appear culpably false. There is something in this case requiring the most positive order of correction at the hands of the President and I shall not only be much surprised as a citizen not to see it followed by the restoration of Professor de Janon, but still further by the arraigning & dismissal of Genl. Delafield. If malicious falsifying be a just cause of exclusion from high civil or military position I cannot see by what rule of construction Genl Delafield can escape the verdict in the estimation of every right minded man who takes the pains to read the facts in the case.
"But I claim that Mr de Janon not withstanding the remoteness of the time at which the necessity is laid upon him to do so, completely vindicates himself and should be restored.
"I can but look with deep solicitude at the course to be pursued in this case, having an abiding confidence that justice will be done and that the workers of iniquity will be held up to public scorn and condemnation, and that your Excellency will stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of public abhorance
"If such tricks as Genrl Delafield and two or three other co-operators at West Point have played in this case shall succeed I shall conclude that it is high time that the academy was dispensed with, as being a place to nourish knaves and conceited upstarts, rather than an Institution conducted by gentlemen worthy of the titles they bear with rank in the military service of the Country
"I can but feel grieved & humiliated at what has occurred feeling assured tho' that "in the future as in the past" you will be sufficient for the occasion.
"I have the honor to be very
"Respectfully yours &c
"Geo. D. Blakey"
[ Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]
Note 1: Blakey was a Kentucky Unionist whom Lincoln appointed a collector of internal revenue in 1862. Patrice De Janon, in whose behalf Blakey writes, was restored to his position at West Point in 1865 and he retired in 1882.
Note 2: Patrice De Janon was a professor of Spanish at West Point who had been dismissed in 1863. Blakey's niece was married to the professor. See Blakey to Lincoln, June 25, 1864.
Note 3: General Richard Delafield was Chief
of Engineers for the U. S. Army. He had previously served as the superintendent
at West Point (1838-45, 1856-61).