Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

October 12, 1888

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 3276, entitled "An act granting restoration of pension to Sarah A. Woodbridge."

The first husband of this beneficiary, Anson L. Brewer, was an additional paymaster in the Army, and died February 2, 1866, from injuries received in an explosion of a steamer.

His widow, the beneficiary, was pensioned at the rate of $25 a month from the date of her husband's death until October 21, 1870, when she remarried, becoming the wife of Timothy Woodbridge.

Two children, who were minors at the time she was pensioned, became 16 years of age in April, 1870, and July, 1874, respectively.

Upon the remarriage of the beneficiary her pension stopped under the law.

It is now proposed to restore her to the pension roll, notwithstanding the fact that her second husband is still alive.

Many cases have occurred in which pensions have been awarded by special acts to the widows of soldiers who, having remarried, were a second time made widows and rendered destitute by the death of their second husbands. I have not objected to such charitable legislation.

But I think this is the first time that it has been proposed to grant a pension after such remarriage when the second husband still survives, It seems to me that such a precedent ought not to be established. If in pension legislation we attempt to determine the cases of this description in which the second husband can not or does not properly maintain the soldier's widow whom he has married, we shall open the door to much confusion and uncertainty, as well as unjust discrimination.

I am glad to learn from a statement contained in the committee's report that this beneficiary, though in a condition making the aid of a pension very desirable, has a small income derived from property inherited from her mother.


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

Simple Search of Our Archives