Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 28, 1888

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 820, entitled "An act granting a pension to David A. Servis."

The beneficiary named in this bill enlisted August 14, 1862, and was discharged June 8, 1865.

It is alleged that about the month of January, 1863, a comrade, by way of a joke, put powder into a pipe which the beneficiary was accustomed to smoke and covered it with tobacco, so that when he lighted it the powder exploded and injured his eyes. The report of the Senate committee states that it does not appear that "any notice was taken of this wanton act of his tent mate."

There is no mention of any disability or injury in the record of the soldier's service. He seems to have served nearly two years and a half after the injury. He filed an application for a pension in May, 1885, more than twenty-two years thereafter.

Whatever may be the extent of the injury sustained, in regard to which the evidence is apparently quite meager, I can not see that it was such a result of military service as to entitle the applicant to a pension.

The utmost liberality to those who were in our Army hardly justifies a compensation by way of pension for injuries incurred in sport or pastime or as the result of a practical joke.


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

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