Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

October 16, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 10563, entitled "An act granting a pension to William S. Latham."

The beneficiary named in this bill enlisted in August, 1862. The rolls for March and April, 1863, report him a deserter, but it having been ascertained that sickness was the cause of his failure to return to his regiment at the end of a furlough granted to him, upon which failure the charge of desertion was based, he was restored to his company and the charge of desertion removed.

All this is stated in the report of the committee to which this bill was referred.

But it is not mentioned in said report that he was again furloughed on the 17th day of August, 1863, and, failing to return at the end of his furlough, one month thereafter, again became a deserter, but was not so reported until October 8, 1863.

He was arrested January 1, 1864, but there appears to be no record of his trial or his restoration.

He filed a claim for pension in the Pension Bureau in January, 1870, and he was informed twice during the year 1888 that no favorable action could be taken until the charge of desertion had been removed.

On application to the Adjutant-General that officer, on the 21st day of February, 1888, declined to remove said charge of desertion.

The claim is still pending before the Pension Bureau.

I do not suppose that the Congress is prepared to go so far in special pension legislation as to grant pensions to those against whom charges of desertion appear of record.

In the belief that the fact of the second desertion above mentioned was overlooked by the Congress, and because the application for pension in this case is still pending in the Pension Bureau, where complete justice can still be done, I am constrained to withhold my approval of this bill.


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

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