Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

September 07, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 9372, entitled "An act granting a pension to John Dean."

The beneficiary named in this bill was mustered into the service of the United States February 25, 1863. He never went to the front, but while in camp at Staten Island, on the 21st day of April, 1863, was granted a pass for forty-eight hours, and on account of sickness did not again rejoin his company or regiment. The charge of desertion made against him has been removed. The Surgeon-General's report shows that he was treated at quarters on Staten Island in April, 1863, for syphilis, rheumatism, and debility.

He was admitted to Charity Hospital, Blackwells Island, New York Harbor, August 5, 1863, and discharged November 18, 1863. He was admitted to the Ladies' General Hospital in New York December 1, 1863, and was discharged from the service for disability April 7, 1864.

The discharge was granted, as stated by the surgeon of volunteers in charge of the hospital, "because of sloughing of both corneas from inflammation contracted while absent without leave, having received a forty-eight-hour pass from his regiment April 15, 1863, then stationed on Staten Island. He lost his sight in August, 1863, while absent without leave. Unfit for Invalid Corps. Admitted to this hospital December 1, 1863. Not a case for pension."

A claim for pension was filed by the beneficiary at the Pension Bureau in March, 1877, alleging that on or about April 1, 1863, he suffered from chronic rheumatism and sore eyes, occasioned by exposure and illness contracted in camp.

It will be observed that no affection of the eyes is mentioned in the record of his treatment in quarters.

The claimant was examined by the New York City board of surgeons in June, 1878, and no rheunmatism was found to exist. He is now blind, and while his case is certainly a pitiable one I am forced to the belief that the conclusions reached in 1879 upon his application, that his disease was contracted while absent without leave and that his disability was due to syphilis, were correct.


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

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