Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

June 23, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 7162, entitled "An act granting a pension to Martha McIlwain."

R. J. McIlwain, the husband of the claimant, enlisted in 1861, and was discharged in 1862 because of the loss of his right leg by a gunshot wound. He was pensioned for this disability. He died May 15, 1883, from an overdose of morphia. It is claimed by the widow that her husband was in the habit of taking morphia to alleviate the pain he endured from his stump, and that he accidentally took too much.

The case was investigated by a special examiner upon the widow's application for pension, and his report shows that the deceased had been in the habit of taking morphia and knew how to use it; that he had been in the habit of buying 6 grains at a time, and that his death was caused by his taking one entire purchase of 6 grains while under the influence of liquor.

In any event it is quite clear that the taking of morphia in any quantity was not the natural result of military service or injury received therein.

I concur in the judgment of the Pension Bureau, which rejected the widow's claim for pension on the ground that "the death of the soldier was not due to his military service."


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

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