Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

June 22, 1886

To the Senate:

I hereby return without approval Senate bill No. 1400, entitled "An act granting a pension to William H. Beck."

This claimant enlisted in 1861. He reenlisted as a veteran volunteer January 1, 1864, and was finally mustered out April 20, 1866. In all this time of service his record shows no medical treatment or claim of disability. Indeed, an abstract of his reenlistment January 1, 1864, shows a medical examination and perfect soundness.

Notwithstanding all this, he filed his declaration on the 4th day of April, 1879, nearly thirteen years after his discharge, alleging that in June, 1863, he incurred epilepsy, to which he has been subject since, and that his fits have been from one to ten days apart. To connect this in some way with his military service he stated that the doctor at a hospital said his epilepsy was caused "by jar to the head from heavy firing."

Six months after this alleged "jar" and his consequent epilepsy he reenlisted upon a medical certificate of perfect soundness and served more than two years thereafter.

Every conceded fact in the case negatives the allegations of his declaration, and the rejection of his claim necessarily followed.

If this disease can be caused in the manner here detailed, its manifestations are such as to leave no doubt of its existence, and it seems to me simply impossible under the circumstances detailed that there should be any lack of evidence to support the claim upon which this bill is predicated.


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

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