Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 05, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 7907, entitled "An act granting a pension to Mary Ann Lang."

The husband of this beneficiary was wounded in the nose on the 1st day of June, 1864, and was mustered out of the service July 8, 1865. He was pensioned on account of this wound and died February 21, 1881. Prior to his death he had executed a declaration claiming pension also for rheumatism, but the application was not filed before he died.

The cause of his death was dropsy. The widow filed her claim for pension in 1884, which was rejected on the ground that the soldier's fatal disease was not the result of his military service.

A physician of good repute, who appears to have attended him more than any other physician for a number of years prior to his death, gives an account of rheumatic ailments and other troubles, and states that about a year and a half before he died he had a liver trouble which resulted in dropsy, which caused his death. He adds that the soldier was a man who drank beer, and at times to excess, and that he drank harder toward the last of his life. He further states that he is unable to connect the liver trouble with his rheumatism, and could not give any other reason for it except his long use of beer and liquor, and if that was not the cause it greatly aggravated it; that he had cautioned him about drinking, and at times he heeded the advice.

An appeal was taken from the action rejecting the claim and the case was submitted to the medical referee of the Pension Bureau, who decided upon all the testimony that the soldier's fatal disease (dropsy) was due to disease of the liver, which was not a sequence of rheumatism and was the result of excessive use of alcoholic stimulants.

It will be observed that no claim is made that death in any way resulted from the wound for which a pension had been allowed, and that even if rheumatism was connected with the death its incurrence in the Army had never been established.

I am satisfied that this case was properly disposed of by the Pension Bureau.


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

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