Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 31, 1886

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 2160, entitled "A bill granting a pension to Mary J. Hagerman."

The husband of this proposed beneficiary enlisted in 1861 and was wounded by a gunshot, which seriously injured his left forearm. In 1864 he was discharged; was afterwards pensioned for his wound, and died in August, 1884.

Dr. Hageman, who attended the deceased in his last illness, testifies that he was called to attend him in August, 1884; that he was sick with typhomalarial fever, and that upon inquiry he (the physician) found that it was caused by hard work or overexertion and exposure. He was ill for about ten days.

The application of his widow for pension was rejected in 1885 on the ground that the fatal disease was not due to military service.

I am unable to discover how any different determination could have been reached.

To grant a pension in this case would clearly contravene the present policy of the Government, and either establish a precedent which, if followed, would allow a pension to the widow of every soldier wounded or disabled in the war, without regard to the cause of death, or would unjustly discriminate in favor of the few thus receiving the bounty of the Government against many whose cases were equally meritorious.


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

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