Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

July 05, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith without my approval House bill No. 5306, entitled "An act granting a pension to Roxana V. Rowley."

The beneficiary named in this bill is the widow of Franklin Rowley, who enlisted February 8, 1865, was promoted to first lieutenant March 13, 1865, and was discharged May 22, 1865, having tendered his resignation, as it is stated, on account of incompetency. His tender of resignation was indorsed by the commanding officer of his regiment as follows: "This man is wholly unfit for an officer."

It will be seen that he was in the service a little more than three months. In 1880, fifteen years after his discharge, he applied for a pension, alleging that he contracted disease of the liver while in the service.

Upon an examination of the claim his attending physician before enlistment stated that as early as 1854 the claimant was afflicted with dyspepsia and functional disease of the liver; that he regarded him as incurable, so far as being restored to sound health was concerned, and that if he had been at home at the time when he enlisted he would have advised against it.

The testimony of this physician as to the claimant's condition after his discharge is referred to in the report of the Committee of the House to whom this bill was referred, and I do not understand that he is at all impeached. He certainly is better informed than any other person regarding the condition of the man who was his patient.

The soldier died in 1881, sixteen years after his discharge, and his widow filed her claim for pension in 1882, alleging that the death of her husband was caused by a disease of the liver contracted in the service.

Her claim was rejected in 1883 upon the ground that the disease of which her husband died existed prior to his enlistment.

I can not avoid the conclusion, upon all the facts presented, that his death was not chargeable to any incident of his brief military service.


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

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