Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 24, 1886

To the Senate of the United States:

I herewith return without approval Senate bill No. 2186, entitled "An act granting a pension to Louis Melcher."

This claimant enlisted on the 25th day of May, 1861, and was discharged for disability on the 16th day of August, 1861, having been in the service less than three months.

The certificate of the surgeon of his regiment, made at the time of his discharge, stated his disability to be "lameness, caused by previous repeated and extensive ulcerations of his legs, extending deeply among the muscles and impairing their powers and action by cicatrices, all existing before enlistment and not mentioned to the mustering officers at the time."

Upon this certificate, given at the time of the claimant's discharge and while he was actually under the surgeon's observation, an application for a pension was rejected by the Pension Bureau.

In the absence of anything impeaching the ability and integrity of the surgeon of the regiment, his certificate should, in my opinion, be regarded as a true statement of the condition of the claimant at the time of his discharge, though the committee's report suggests that the surgeon's skill may have been at fault when he declared that the ulcers existed before enlistment. The cicatrices showing beyond a doubt the previous existence of this difficulty would be plainly apparent upon an examination by a surgeon, and their origin could hardly be mistaken. The term of the claimant's service was not sufficiently long to have developed and healed, even imperfectly, in a location previously healthy, ulcers of the kind mentioned in the claimant's application.

My approval of this bill is therefore withheld upon the ground that I find nothing in my examination of the facts connected with the case which impeaches the value of the surgeon's certificate upon which the adverse action of the Pension Bureau was predicated.


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

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