Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

February 23, 1889

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 5807, entitled "An act granting a pension to John McCool."

This beneficiary served in an Iowa regiment of volunteers from May 27, 1861, to July 12, 1865.

He filed a petition for pension, alleging an accidental wound in the right thumb while extracting a cartridge from a pistol in August, 1861. There is no record of any such disability, though it appears that he was on a furlough about the date of his alleged injury. It appears that he served nearly four years after the time he fixed as the date of his injury.

No evidence was filed in support of the claim he filed, and he refused to appear for examination, though twice notified to do so.

His claim was rejected in May, 1888, no suggestion having been made of any other disability than the wound in the thumb, upon which his claim before the Bureu was based.

The report of the committee in the House of Representatives recommending the passage of this bill contains no intimation that there exists any disability contracted in the military service, but distinctly declares the pension recommended a service pension, and states that the beneficiary is blind.

As long as the policy of granting pensions for disability traceable to the incidents of army service is adhered to, the allowance of pensions by special acts based upon service only gives rise to unjust and unfair discriminations among those equally entitled, and makes precedents which will eventually result in an entire departure from the principle upon which pensions are now awarded.


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

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