Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

April 25, 1896

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without my approval House bill No. 1094, entitled "An act granting a pension to Francis E. Hoover."

It is proposed by this bill to grant a pension of $50 a month to the beneficiary named, who served as a private for about one year and nine months in the Union Army during the War of the Rebellion.

I do not understand it is claimed in any quarter that the present helpless condition of this soldier is at all attributable to his army service. He himself never applied for a pension until after the passage of the law of 1890, providing for a pension for those who had served in the Army and are unable to maintain themselves by manual labor on account of disability not chargeable to army service. The committee of the House of Representatives in reporting this bill declare: "The testimony does not show the disease of the soldier to be of service origin."

The beneficiary is now receiving the largest pension permitted under the law of 1890.

His condition may well excite our sympathy, but to grant him a pension of $50 a month without the least suggestion that his pitiable disability is related to his army service, and in view of the fact that he is now receiving the highest pension allowed by a general law enacted to expressly meet such cases, it seems to me would result in an unfair discrimination as against many thousand worthy soldiers similarly situated, and would invite applications which, while difficult to refuse in the face of such a precedent, must certainly lead to the breaking down of all the limitations and restrictions provided by our laws regulating pensions.

The value of pension legislation depends as much upon fairness and justice in its administration as it does upon its liberality and generosity.


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

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