Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 25, 1886

To the Senate of the United States:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 1998, entitled "An act for the relief of John D. Ham," which grants a pension to the party named.

The claimant alleges that he enrolled in the Army in January, 1862, and was "sworn in at his own home;" that the next day he started on horseback to go to the regiment he was to join, and that on the way his horse fell upon his left ankle, whereby he sustained an injury which entitles him to a pension.

His name is not borne upon any of the rolls of the regiment he alleges he was on his way to join.

He filed his application for pension in the Pension Bureau October 17, 1879 (seventeen years after his alleged injury), which was rejected apparently on the ground that he was not in the military service when the disability claimed was incurred.

He was drafted in 1863 and served until he was mustered out in 1865. It is entirely clear that this claimant was not in the military service at the time he claims to have been injured; and his conduct in remaining at home until he was drafted, nearly two years afterwards, furnishes proof that he did not regard himself as in the meantime owing any military duty. These considerations, and the further facts that upon being drafted he was accepted as physically qualified for service, that he actually thereafter served a year and eight months, and that he waited seventeen years before claiming pension for his injury, in my mind present a case upon which the claimant is entitled to no relief even if charity instead of just liberality is invoked.


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

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