Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

August 04, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without my approval House bill No. 7234, entitled "An act granting a pension to Susan Hawes."

The beneficiary named in this bill is the mother of Jeremiah Hawes, who enlisted in February, 1861, in the United States artillery, and was discharged in February, 1864. He filed a claim for pension in 1881, alleging that in 1862, by the premature discharge of a cannon, he sustained paralysis of his right arm and side. In 1883, while his claim was still pending, he died.

He does not appear to have made his home with his mother altogether, if at all. For some years prior to his death and at the time of its occurrence he was an inmate, or had been an inmate, of a soldiers' home in Ohio.

But whatever may be said of the character of any injuries he may have received in the service or of his relations to his mother, the cause of his death, it seems to me, can not possibly upon any reasonable theory be attributable to any incident of his military service.

It appears that in July, 1883, while the deceased was on his way from Buffalo, where he had been in a hospital, to the soldiers' home in Ohio, he attempted to step on a slowly moving freight train, and making a misstep a wheel of the car passed over his foot, injuring it so badly that it was deemed necessary by two physicians who were called to amputate the foot. An anaesthetic was administered preparatory to the operation, but before it was entered upon the injured man died, having survived the accident but two hours.

The physicians who were present stated that in their opinion death was due to heart disease.

The above account of the death of the soldier is derived from a report furnished by the Pension Bureau, and differs somewhat from the statement contained in the report of the House Committee on Invalid Pensions as related to the intention of the physicians to amputate the injured foot and their administration of an anaesthetic. But the accident and the death two hours thereafter under the treatment of the physicians are conceded facts.


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

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