Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

February 04, 1887

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 8834, entitled "An act granting a pension to Abraham P. Griggs."

The claimant mentioned in this bill enlisted in a New Jersey regiment August 14, 1861, and was discharged for disability November 17, 1863.

He entered hospital January 2, 1863, and was transferred to general hospital at Newark, N.J., March 28, 1863, with "debility."

He was discharged from that hospital and from the service in November, 1863, as above stated, and the following statement from his certificate of discharge, if trustworthy, sheds some light upon the kind of debility with which he was afflicted:

This man has been in this hospital for the past eight months. We do not believe him sick, or that he has been sick, but completely worthless. He is obese and a malingerer to such an extent that he is almost an imbecile--worthlessness, obesity, and imbecility and laziness. He is totally unfit for the Invalid Corps or for any other military duty.

I do not regard it at all strange that this claimant, encouraged by the ease with which special acts are passed, seeks relief through such means, after his application, filed in the Pension Bureau nearly twenty years after his discharge, had been rejected.

Of the four comrades who make affidavit in support of his claim, two of them are recorded as deserters.

His claim is predicated upon rheumatism. He alleges that after his discharge from his enlistment he was drafted and served in the Third New York Cavalry, but the Adjutant-General reports that his name does not appear on the rolls of the company to which he says he was attached.

The board of United States examining surgeons at Trenton, N.J., report as the result of an examination as late as May 27, 1885, that they found "no disease of heart or lungs, no thickening or wasting of any of the joints of the body, no evidence of any rheumatic diathesis, no rupture or hemorrhoids, no disease of his spleen or kidney; hands are hard and indicate an ability to work."

I can not think that the official statements referred to, and which militate so strongly against the merits of the claimant, should be impeached or set aside by any of the other testimony which has been brought to my attention.


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

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