Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

October 17, 1888

To the House of Representative:

I return without approval House bill No. 11332, entitled "An act granting a pension to Eliza S. Glass."

The husband of this beneficiary was in the military service from December 28, 1863, to April 27, 1864, a period of four months. He was discharged at the last-mentioned date for disability, the surgeon stating in the certificate his trouble to be "chronic hemorrhoids and rheumatism, both together producing lameness of back; unfit for Invalid Corps." The captain of the soldier's company in the same certificate states:

During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty fifty-four days in consequence of chronic rheumatism, owing to spinal affections and sprains received before entering the service, and made worse by drilling in double quick.

He filed a claim for pension December 24, 1879, more than fifteen years after discharge, in which he claimed that on the 15th day of January, 1864, he received an injury to his back by slipping and falling upon the ground.

After a thorough examination this claim was rejected on the ground that his disability existed prior to enlistment.

The beneficiary filed a claim for pension December 3, 1885, alleging the death of the soldier April 26, 1885. This claim was also rejected, on the ground that the death causes, "nervous prostration and spinal trouble," were not due to the service.

Both of these cases were appealed to the Secretary of the Interior, and in the decision of said appeals it is stated that upon an application for a discharge from the service the soldier first set up an injury to his back from a fall while on drill; that the regimental surgeon refused to entertain this proposition; that the next day the soldier returned, and upon the representations of himself and his captain that has trouble dated back of the alleged accident upon drill and was chronic the certificate for discharge was made out, and pursuant thereto his discharge was granted.

I am of the opinion that, considering the cause of death and all the facts and circumstances surrounding this case, the certificate of discharge which the soldier himself procured to be made out should stand as stating the true origin of his disability; and if the certificate was set aside and all the facts tending to support it were disregarded, the cause of death would still, in my opinion, appear to be disconnected with military service.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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