Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 06, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without my approval House bill No. 6648, entitled "An act for the relief of Edward M. Harrington."

It appears that this claimant was enrolled as a recruit December 31, 1863, and mustered in at Dunkirk, N.Y. He remained at the barracks there until March, 1864, when he was received at the Elmira rendezvous. From there he was sent to his regiment on the 7th day of April, 1864.

He was discharged June 15, 1864, upon a surgeon's certificate of disability, declaring the cause of discharge to be epilepsy, produced by blows of violence over the hypochondrial region while in the service, producing a deformity of sternum.

The claimant filed an application for pension in June, 1879, and in that and subsequent affidavits he alleged that while in barracks at Dunkirk, N.Y., and about the 9th day of January, 1864, and in the line of duty, he was attacked by one Patrick Burnes, who struck him upon the head and stamped upon and kicked him, breaking his collar bone and a number of ribs, causing internal injury and fits, the latter recurring every two weeks.

It is hardly worth while considering the character of these alleged injuries or their connection with the fits with which the claimant is afflicted.

I am entirely unable to see how the injuries are related to the claimant's army service.

The Government ought not to be called upon to insure against the quarrelsome propensities of its individual soldiers, nor to compensate one who is worsted in a fight, or even in an unprovoked attack, when the cause of injury is in no way connected with or related to any requirement or incident of military service.


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

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