Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

February 23, 1889

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 220, entitled "An act granting a pension to John J. Lockrey."

It is stated that this beneficiary enlisted April 11, 1865, but it appears from the muster roll of his company for May and June, 1865, that he was a recruit assigned, but who had not joined. There is nothing appearing on the record which positively shows that he ever reached his regiment.

It is conceded that his real and nominal connection with the Army extended only from April 11, 1865, when he was mustered in, until August, 1865, when he was discharged for disability, consisting of a disease of the eye, called in the surgeon's certificate "iritis with conjunctivitis."

It seems that this claimant enlisted just at the close of the war, and was connected in a manner with the Army for four months. It is not probable that he ever saw any actual service, for none is stated in the papers before me; and it does appear that he spent a large part of his short term of enlistment in hospitals and under treatment for a trouble with his eye. As early as May 23, 1865, he was admitted to hospital with gonorrheal ophthalmia. His claim was rejected by the Pension Bureau on the ground that this was the cause of his disability, and the inferences from the proof presented make this extremely probable.

One of the witnesses who testified that the beneficiary caught cold in his eye in April, 1865, on the Mississippi River is shown to have been at that time with his regiment and company at Danville, Va.

The circumstances surrounding this case and the facts proved satisfy me that the determination of the Pension Bureau was correct, and there is certainly no sentiment in favor of the claimant which justifies the indulgence of violent presumptions for the purpose of overriding such determination.


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

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