Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 31, 1886

To the Senate:

I herewith return without my approval Senate bill No. 1421, entitled "An act granting a pension to William H. Weaver."

The claimant named in this bill enlisted August 12, 1862, and was mustered out of service June 12, 1865. During his service he was treated in hospital for diarrhea and lumbago, and in the reports for May and June, as well as July and August, 1864, he is reported as absent sick.

He filed his application for pension in November, 1877, alleging that in March, 1863, he contracted measles, and in May, 1864, remittent fever, and that as a result of the two attacks he was afflicted with weakness in the limbs and eyes. He made statements afterwards in support of his application that he was also troubled in the service with rheumatism and diarrhea.

The case was examined by several special examiners, from which, as reported to me, it appeared from the claimant's admission that he had sore eyes previous to his enlistment, though he claimed they were sound when he entered the Army.

A surgeon who made an examination in March, 1881, reported that he could not find any evidence whatever of disease of the eyes, and nothing to corroborate the claimant's assertion that he was suffering from rheumatism, piles, or diarrhea.

Another surgeon, who examined the claimant in 1879, reported that he found the eyelids slightly granulated, producing some irritation of the eyeball and rendering the eyes a little weak, and that he found no other disability.

In 1882 a surgeon who made an examination reported that he discovered indications that the claimant had suffered at some time with chronic ophthalmia, but that in his opinion his eyes did not disable him in the least, and that the claimant was well nourished and in good health.

The report of the committee to whom this bill was referred in the Senate states that six special examinations have been made in the case and that two of them were favorable to the claim.

The trouble and expense incurred by the Pension Bureau to ascertain the truth and to deal fairly by this claimant, and the entire absence of any suspicion of bias against the claim in that Bureau, ought to give weight to its determination.

The claim was rejected by the Pension Bureau in July, 1885, upon the ground that disease of the eyes existed prior to enlistment and that the evidence failed to show that there had existed a pensionable degree of disability, since discharge, from diarrhea or rheumatism.

It will be observed that this is not a case where there was a lack of the technical proof required by the Pension Bureau, but that its judgment was based upon the merits of the application and affected the very foundation of the claim.

I think it should be sustained; and its correctness is somewhat strengthened by the fact that the claimant continued in active service for more than a year after his alleged sickness, that after filing his claim he added thereto allegations of additional disabilities, and that he made no application for pension until more than twelve years after his discharge.


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

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