To the House of Representatives:
I return without approval a bill originating in the House of Representatives, numbered 2145, and entitled "An act for the relief of Rebecca Eldridge."
This bill provides for the payment of a pension to the claimant as the widow of Wilber H. Eldridge, who was mustered into the service on the 24th day of July, 1862, and discharged June 21, 1865. He was pensioned at the rate of $2 per month for a slight wound in the calf of the left leg, received on the 25th day of March, 1865. There is no pretense that this wound was at all serious, and a surgeon who examined it in 1880 reported that in his opinion the wounded man "was not incapacitated from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor;" that the ball passed "rather superficially through the muscles," and that the party examined said there was no lameness "unless after long standing or walking a good deal."
On the 28th of January, 1881, while working about a building, he fell backward from a ladder and fractured his skull, from which he died the same day.
Without a particle of proof and with no fact established which connects the fatal accident in the remotest degree with the wound referred to, it is proposed to grant a pension to the widow of $12 per month.
It is not a pleasant thing to interfere in such a case; but we are dealing with pensions, and not with gratuities.
Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/204323