Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 18, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval a joint resolution, which originated in the House of Representatives, "authorizing the use and improvement of Castle Island, in Boston Harbor."

This island is separated from the mainland of the city of Boston by a channel over one-half mile wide. Fort Independence is located on the island, and it is regarded by our military authorities as quite important to the defense of the city.

The proposition contained in the joint resolution is to permit the city of Boston, through its park commissioners, to improve and beautify this island in connection with a public park to be laid out in the city, with the intention of joining the mainland and the island by the construction of a viaduct or causeway across the water now separating the same.

It is quite plain that the occupancy of this island as a place of pleasure and recreation, as contemplated .under this resolution, would be entirely inconsistent with military or defensive uses. I do not regard the control reserved in the resolution to the Secretary of War over such excavations, fillings, and structures upon the island as may be proposed as of much importance. When a park is established there, the island is no longer a defense in time of need.

This scheme, or one of the same character, was broached more than four years ago, and met the disapproval of the Secretary of War and the Engineer Department.

I am now advised by the Secretary of War, the Chief of Engineers, and the Lieutenant-General of the Army, in quite positive terms, that the resolution under consideration should not, for reasons fully stated by them, become operative.

I deem the opinions of these officers abundant justification for my disapproval of the resolution without further statement of objections.


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

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