Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 19, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 4580, entitled "An act granting a pension to Farnaren Ball."

In the report of the committee to which this bill was referred the name of this beneficiary is given as "Farnaren Ball," and in a report from the Pension Bureau it is insisted that the correct name is "Tamezen Ball."

Her son, Augustus F. Coldecott, was pensioned for disease of the lungs up to the time of his death, which occurred June 2, 1872.

The cause of his death was an overdose of laudanum, and whether it was taken by mistake or design is uncertain.

The mother is not entirely destitute, deriving an income, though small, from the interest upon a mortgage given to her upon a sale of some real estate.

The proofs with which I have been furnished fail to satisfy me that the Government should grant a pension on account of death produced by a self-administered narcotic in the circumstances which surround this case.

As a general proposition I see nothing unjust or unfair in holding that if a pensioner is sick and through ignorance or design takes laudanum without the direction or regulation of a physician the Government should not be held responsible for the consequences.


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

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