Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

June 19, 1886

To the Senate:

I hereby return without my approval Senate bill No. 183, entitled "An act for the relief of Thomas S. Hopkins, late of Company C, Sixteenth Maine Volunteers."

This soldier was enrolled in the Army June 2, 1862, and discharged June 30, 1865. He was sent to the Government hospital September 20, 1863, and thereupon transferred to the Invalid Corps.

He filed his declaration for a pension in November, 1880, alleging that while in the service he contracted malarial fever and chronic diarrhea, and was seized with convulsions, suffering from great general debility.

A pension of $50 a month was granted to him in June, 1881, dating from the time of filing his application, which sum he has been receiving up to the present time.

This bill proposes to remove the limitation fixed by the law of 1879 prescribing the date prior to which an application for pension must be filed in order to entitle the claimant to draw the pension allowed from the time of his discharge from the service.

If this bill should become a law, it would entitle the claimant to about $9,000 of back pension. This is claimed upon the ground that the soldier was so sick from the time of the passage of the act creating the limitation up to the date allowed him to avail himself of the privileges of the act that he could not file his claim.

I think the limitation thus fixed a very wise one, and that it should not, in fairness to other claimants, be relaxed for causes not mentioned in the statute; nor should the door be opened to applications of this kind.

The beneficiary named in this bill had fifteen years after the accruing of his claim, and before it is alleged that he was incapacitated, within which he might have filed his application and entitled himself to the back pension now applied for.

The facts here presented come so far short of furnishing a satisfactory excuse for his delay that, in my judgment, the discrimination asked in his favor should not be granted.


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

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