Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

October 16, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 6201, entitled "An act granting a pension to John Robeson."

The beneficiary named in this bill enlisted August 8, 1862, and was discharged for disability on the 21st day of November, 1862, after a service of a little more than three months.

In the certificate of disability upon which his discharge was granted the captain of the beneficiary's company states that "he has been unfit for duty for sixty days; that the soldier represents that he has not done efficient service since enlistment by reason of phthisic, from which he has suffered since childhood, but has grown worse since entering the service." The surgeon of the regiment states in said certificate that "the soldier has asthma, with which he has been afflicted from his infancy."

Upon this certificate, based necessarily so far as his previous condition is concerned, this man procured his discharge after doing but very slight service.

He filed an application for pension in the Pension Bureau in October, 1879, basing his claim upon the allegation that he contracted asthma in September, 1862, about a mouth after he entered the service.

Two special examinations were had in his case, and his statement was taken in each.

On the first examination he said he could not account for the statements of his captain and surgeon, unless they arose from a remark he made that he had phthisic when he was small.

On the second he accounted for the statements of the captain and surgeon by saying that he felt very sick and feared that he could not live if he remained in the service; that he was suffering with jaundice as well as asthma; and having been told that he could not be discharged on account of jaundice, but could on account of asthma, he asked the captain to tell the surgeon that he had known him to have asthma before enlistment. He also says that he procured others to tell the same story.

On these examinations there was the usual negative testimony produced of certain parties who knew the claimant before enlistment and did not know that he was afflicted. This is balanced by the evidence of others, who testify that the claimant had asthma before enlistment.

Upon consideration of the character of the ailment, the testimony upon the two examinations, and the conduct of the beneficiary and his own admissions, I can not escape the conviction that whatever disability he had at the date of discharge he had when he enlisted, and that his claim was properly rejected by the Pension Bureau.


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

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