Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

February 13, 1889

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 3451, entitled "An act granting a pension to Frank D. Worcester."

The beneficiary named in this bill served in the Volunteer Army from February 4, 1863, to January 27, 1864, a period of less than one year, when he was discharged upon the certificate of a surgeon, alleging as his disability "manifest mental imbecility and incontinence of urine. Disease originated previous to enlistment."

In 1880, sixteen years after his discharge, a claim for pension was filed in his behalf by his father as his guardian, in which it was alleged that his mind, naturally not strong, became diseased in the Army by reason of excitement and exposure.

He was adjudged insane in 1872 and sent to an insane hospital, where he remained about six years, when he was discharged as a harmless incurable. His mental condition has remained about the same since that time.

Upon the declared inability to furnish testimony to rebut the record of mental disease prior to enlistment, the claim for pension was rejected in 1883.

In 1887 the case was reopened and a thorough examination was made as to soundness prior to enlistment and the origin and continuance of mental unsoundness.

Upon this examination evidence was taken showing that he was deficient intellectually when he joined the Army; that he was stationed where he was not much exposed, and that his duties were comparatively light; that he never was considered a boy of solid intelligence, and that he had epileptiform seizures prior to enlistment.

On the other hand, no disinterested and unbiased evidence was secured tending to rebut these conditions.

The claim was thereupon again rejected. This was a proper disposition of the case unless the Government is held liable for every disability which may afflict those who served in the Union Army.


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

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