Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 03, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 4534, entitled "An act for the relief of Emily G. Mills."

The object of this bill is to provide a pension for the beneficiary named therein as the widow of Oscar B. Mills, late a second assistant engineer, retired, in the United States Navy. The deceased was appointed an acting third assistant engineer in October, 1862, and in 1864 he was promoted to the place of second assistant engineer.

It is supposed that while in active service he did his full duty, though I am not informed of any distinguished acts of bravery or heroism. In February, 1871, he was before a naval retiring board, which formal that he was incapacitated for active service on account of malarious fever, contracted in 1868, and recommended that he be allowed six months' leave of absence to recover his health.

In December, 1871, he was again examined for retirement, and the board found that he was not in any way incapacitated from performing the duties of his office. The next year, in 1872, another retiring board, upon an examination of his case, found that he was "laboring under general debility, the effect of intermittent fever acting upon an originally delicate constitution" and he was thereupon placed upon the retired list of the Navy.

On the 10th day of August, 1873, he was accidentally shot and killed by a neighbor, who was attempting to shoot an owl.

As long as there is the least pretense of limiting the bestowal of pensions to disability or death in some way related to the incidents of military and naval service, claims of this description can not consistently be allowed.


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

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