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Veto Message

August 14, 1888

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 1762, entitled "An act granting a pension to Benjamin A. Burtram."

The beneficiary named in this bill was mustered into the military service November 26, 1861; he was reported present until February 28, 1862, and was discharged for disability July 26, 1862.

The medical certificate of the disability of this soldier was made by the senior surgeon of a hospital in Louisville, Ky., and stated that the soldier had been disabled for sixty days; that his lungs were affected with tubercular deposits in both, and that there was some irregularity in the action of the heart; that he was of consumptive family, his mother, brother, and two sisters having died of that disease according to his and his father's account.

It is of course supposed that this certificate was based upon an examination of the patient, though both he and his father seem to have supplemented such an examination with statements establishing a condition and history which operated to bring about a discharge.

I do not find, however, either as the result of examinations or statements, any other trouble or disability alleged than those mentioned above.

But in 1879, seventeen years after the soldier's discharge, and during the period when arrearages of pensions were allowed on such applications, he filed a claim for pension, in which he alleged that about December 1, 1861, while unloading gun boxes, he incurred a rupture, and that in January, 1862, he was taken with violent pains in left arm and side, causing permanent disability.

It will be observed that the time of the incurrence of these disabilities is fixed as quite early in the very short military service of this soldier; and it certainly seems that, though short, his term of service was sufficiently long to develop such disabilities as he claims to have incurred to such an extent that they neither would have escaped in the succeeding July the examination of the surgeon nor the mention of the soldier.

A medical examination which followed the application for pension in 1879 disclosed a large scrotal hernia, but no discoverable trouble of left arm and side.

A special examination of the case was made and a large amount of testimony taken. Without giving it in any detail as it is reported to me, I fail to find in it reasonably satisfactory proof that the disabilities upon which he now bases his claim for a pension were incurred in the military service.


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

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