Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 06, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 367, entitled "An act granting a pension to Nathaniel D. Chase."

This beneficiary enlisted September 3, 1863. The records show that he was admitted to a hospital March 3, 1864, with a disease of a discreditable nature and by no means connected with the military service, and that he was discharged from the Army May 20, 1864, upon a certificate of paralysis of left arm, which came on suddenly February 20, 1864, and that the cause was unknown, but believed not to be incident to the service.

He filed an application for a pension in June, 1864, alleging paralysis of the left arm from causes unknown to him.

This claim was not prosecuted at that time, and the claimant reenlisted in January, 1865, and served until September 5, 1865, without any evidence of disability appearing upon the records.

He renewed his claim in 1870, stating that he was first taken with a pain in his left arm about March 1, 1864, and that it became partially paralyzed.

It will be observed that thus far in his application he gives no explanation of the incurrence of his disability which leads to the belief that it was related to his service.

In a letter dated May 31, 1864, his captain states that he can but think that the disability of the claimant was the result of his folly and indiscretion, and that he feels it his duty to decline giving him a certificate.

In 1880 the claimant stated the cause of his disability was an injury to his arm while expelling a soldier from a railroad train at Augusta, Me., he acting as provost guard at the time. Upon this allegation the case was reopened at the Pension Bureau.

In reply to a letter from the Bureau the captain of claimant's company stated that he had no knowledge of such an injury. The same officer, in a letter dated February 25, 1887, expresses the belief that the disability of the applicant, if any existed, was caused by the injudicious use of mercurial medicine self-administered for venereal disease contracted at Augusta, Me., in January, 1864, and that such was the rumor among his comrades when he was sent to the hospital.

I can not believe that an injury was sustained such as was specified by the applicant in 1880 and that nothing was said of it either in the claim made in 1864 or in 1870. In the absence of this or some other definite cause consistent with an honest claim we are left in the face of some contrary evidence to guess that his arm was injured in the service.

The application of this beneficiary is still pending in the Pension Bureau awaiting further information.


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

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