Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

June 19, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 5997, entitled "An act granting a pension to Elizabeth Luce."

The claimant named in this bill is the widow of John W. Luce, who entered the Army in August, 1861, and who was discharged in January, 1864, for a disability declared at the time in the surgeon's certificate to arise from "organic stricture of the urethra," which, from his statement, existed at the time of his enlistment.

Notwithstanding the admission which thus appears to have been made by him at the time of his discharge, he soon afterwards made an application for a pension, alleging that his difficulty arose from his being thrown forward on the pommel of his saddle when in the service.

Upon an examination of this claim by a special examiner, it is stated that no one could be found who had any knowledge of such an injury, and the claim was rejected.

In 1883, twenty years after the soldier alleged he was injured in the manner stated, he died, and the cause of his death was declared to be "chronic gastritis, complicated with kidney difficulty."

It is alleged that the examinations made by the Pension Bureau developed the fact that the deceased soldier was a man of quite intemperate habits.

The theory upon which this widow should be pensioned can only be that the death of her husband resulted from a disability or injury contracted or received in the military service. It seems to me that however satisfactorily the injury which he described may be established, and though every suspicion as to his habits be dismissed, there can hardly possibly be any connection between such an injury and the causes to which his death is attributed.


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

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