about it; but his answer of May 25 was accepted as sufficiently reassuring.
Indeed it could hardly have been imagined that a President of the United States
would disregard an honorable obligation incurred by his predecessor; but before I got through with that matter I was enlightened on that point.
In the spring of 1880 there arose great public excitement over the case of the one colored cadet then at West Point
This cadet, whose name was Whittaker
, had twice been found deficient in studies, and recommended by the academic board for dismissal; but had been saved therefrom by me, in my perhaps too strong desire to give the young colored man all possible chance of ultimate success, however unwise his appointment to the military academy might have been.
As was stated by me at the time, in my report of the case to the War Department, that second and unusual indulgence was based upon the fact that he was the only representative of his race then at the academy.
Being again, for the third time, in danger of dismissal, that colored cadet, either by his own hands, or by others with his consent (of which he was finally convicted by a general court-martial), was bound hand and foot and mutilated in such manner as, while doing him no material injury, to create a suspicion of foul play on the part of other cadets.
An official investigation by the commandant, Colonel Henry M. Lazelle
, led him to the conclusion that the other cadets had no knowledge whatever of the outrage, and that the colored cadet himself was guilty.
Not being fully satisfied with that conclusion, I appointed a court of inquiry to investigate the matter more thoroughly.
The result of that investigation fully sustained the finding of Colonel Lazelle
, that the colored cadet himself was the guilty person.
But those judicial conclusions did not suffice to allay the public clamor for protection to the recently emancipated