Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 28, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I hereby return without approval bill No. 1406, which originated in the House of Representatives and is entitled "An act granting a pension to Simmons W. Harden."

The claimant mentioned in this bill enlisted as a private December 30, 1863, and was discharged May 17, 1865.

He filed an application for pension in 1866, in which he alleged that he was injured in the left side by a fall from a wagon while in the service.

In 1880 he filed another application, in which he claimed that he was afflicted with an enlargement of the lungs and heart from overexertion at a review. His record in the Army makes no mention of either of these troubles, but does show that he had at some time during his service dyspepsia and intermittent fever.

The fact that fourteen years elapsed after he claimed to have been injured by a fall from a wagon before he discovered that enlargement of the lungs and heart was his real difficulty is calculated to at least raise a doubt as to the validity of his claim.

The evidence as to his condition at the time of enlistment, as well as since, seems quite contradictory and unsatisfactory. The committee to which the bill was referred report that "the only question in the case is as to his condition at time of enlistment, and the evidence is so flatly contradictory on that point that it is impossible to decide that question."

Notwithstanding this declaration, it is proposed to allow him a pension of $16 a month, though he has survived all his ailments long enough to reach the age of 72 years.

I think upon the case presented the action of the Pension Bureau overruling his claim should not be reversed.


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

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