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The beneficiary named in this bill filed an application for pension in June, 1873, alleging as his disability a fracture of his right arm.
In a subsequent affidavit filed in 1883 he alleged deafness, which appears to be the disability upon which the special act proposed for his relief is based.
The records establish that he enlisted July 27, 1861, that he deserted April 25, 1862, and returned February 20, 1863, after an absence of about ten months, and that he deserted again April 30, 1864, and returned prior to August 31, 1864. I am informed that his record shows two enlistments and desertion during each. He was discharged December 31, 1864.
An application to remove the charge of desertion against him was denied.
Without especially discussing the question of disability chargeable to military service, it seems to me that a soldier with such a record should not be pensioned.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, January 31, 1889. To the Senate:
I return without approval Senate bill No. 3264, entitled "An act granting a pension to Mrs. Ellen Hand."
The husband of the beneficiary named in this bill enlisted August 22, 1862, and was mustered out with his company July 10, 1865.
He filed a claim for pension in 1881, sixteen years after his discharge, alleging that he contracted rheumatism about December, 1862.
He died in February, 1883, the cause of death being, as then certified, typhoid fever.
His claim for pension on account of rheumatism seems to have been favorably determined after his death, for it was made payable to his widow and was allowed from the time of filing his petition to February 25, 1883, the day of his death.
The facts of the case as now presented appear to me to lead in the most satisfactory manner to the conclusion that the soldier's death was in no way related to any incident of his military service.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 12, 1889. To the House of Representatives:
I return without approval House bill No. 9163, entitled "An act granting a pension to Eli Garrett.”
This beneficiary enlisted in the Confederate Army December 1, 1862. He was captured by the United States forces on the 26th of November, 1863, and enlisted in the Union Navy January 22, 1864.
He was discharged from the Navy for disability September 8, 186.. upon the certificate of a naval surgeon, which states that he had valvular cardiac disease (disease of the heart), and that there was no evidence that it originated in the line of duty.
His claim for pension was rejected in 1882 upon the ground that the act which permits pensions to Confederate soldiers who joined the Union Army did not extend to such soldiers who enlisted in the Navy.
I can see no reason why such a distinction should exist, and the recommendation of the Commissioner of Pensions, made in 1887, that this discrimination be removed should be adopted by the enactment of a law for that purpose.
In this case, however, I am unable to discover any evidence that the trouble with which this beneficiary appears to be afflicted is related to bis naval service which should overcome the plain statement of the surgeon upon whose certificate he was discharged to the effect that there was no evidence that his disability originated in the line of naval duty.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 12, 1889. To the House of Representatives:
I return without approval House bill No. 11052, entitled “An act granting a pension to Clara M. Owen."
The husband of this beneficiary was pensioned for a gunshot wound in the left chest and lung, received in action on the 30th day of September, 1864.
He was drowned August 31, 1884.
It appears that he was found in a stream where he frequently bathed, in a depth of water variously given from 5 to 8 feet. He had undressed and apparently gone into the water as usual.
Medical opinions are produced tending to show that drowning was not the cause of death.
No post mortem examination was had, and it seems to me it must be conceded that a conclusion that death was in any degree the result of wounds received in military service rests upon the most unsatisfactory conjecture.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 12, 1889. To the House of Representatives.
I return without approval House bill No.5752, entitled "An act for the relief of Julia Triggs."
This beneficiary filed an application for pension in 1882, claiming that her son, William Triggs, died in 1875 from the effects of poison taken during his military service in water which had been poisoned by the rebels and in food eaten in rebel houses, which had also been poisoned. He was discharged from the Army with his company July 24, 1865, after a service of more than four years.
The cause of his death is reported to have been an abscess of the lung.
The case was specially examined, and the evidence elicited to support the claim of poisoning appears to have been anything but satisfactory.
The mother herself testified that her son was absent from Chicago, where she lived, and in the South from 1868 to 1869, and that he was in Indiana from 1869 to 1874.
The claim was rejected on the 12th day of February, 1887, on the ground that evidence could not be obtained upon special examination showing that the soldier's death was due to any disability contracted in the military service.
While I am unable to see how any other conclusion could have been reached upon the facts in this case, there is reason to believe that a favorable determination upon its merits would be of no avail, since, on the 17th day of April, 1888, a letter was filed in the Pension Office from a citizen of Chicago in which it is stated that the beneficiary named in this bill died on the 27th day of February, 1888, and an application is therein made on behalf of her daughter for reimbursement of money expended for her mother in her last illness and for her burial.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 13, 1889. To the Senate:
I return without approval Senate bill No. 2514, entitled "An act granting a pension to Michael Shong,"
It appears that the beneficiary named in this bill, under the name of John M. Johns, enlisted in Company I, Fourteenth New York Volunteers, on the 17th day of May, 1861, and was discharged May 24, 1863.
In November, 1876, more than thirteen years after his discharge, under the same name of John M. Johns, he filed an application for pension, alleging a fever sore on his right leg contracted July 1, 1862, which resulted in the loss of the leg.
His claim was rejected in November, 1882, after a thorough special examination, on the ground that the disease of the leg resulting in amputation was contracted after the soldier's discharge from the service.
The leg was amputated in February, 1865.
While there is some evidence tending to show lameness in the service and following discharge, and while one witness swears to lameness and fever sores in the service, evidence was also produced showing that the soldier returned home from the Army in good physical condition and that the disease of his leg first manifested itself in the latter part of 1864.
It will be observed that he served in the Army nearly a year after it is alleged he contracted his disability, and that though his leg was amputated in February, 1865, he did not apply for a pension until 1876.
Moreover, the surgeon who amputated his leg testified that the soldier and his parents stated that he came out of the Army without a scratch; that on New Year's night in 1865 he became very warm at a dance; that he went outdoors and was taken with a chill and pain in his side, which subsequently settled in the leg and caused a gangrenous condition, and that upon amputating the leg the artery below the knee was found plugged by a blood clot, which caused the diseased condition of the leg and foot.
This testimony and the other facts established and the presumptions arising therefrom clearly indicate, in my opinion, that the claim made for a pension by this beneficiary is without merit.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 13, 1889. To the Senate:
I return without approval Senate bill No. 3451, entitled "An act granting a pension to Frank D. Worcester."
The beneficiary named in this bill served in the Volunteer Army from February 4, 1863, to January 27, 1864, a period of less than one year, when he was discharged upon the certificate of a surgeon, alleging as his disability "manifest mental imbecility and incontinence of urine. Disease originated previous to enlistment.”
In 1880, sixteen years after his discharge, a claim for pension was filed in his behalf by his father as his guardian, in which it was alleged that his mind, naturally not strong, became diseased in the Army by reason of excitement and exposure.
He was adjudged insane in 1872 and sent to an insane hospital, where he remained about six years, when he was discharged as a harmless incurable. His mental condition lias remained about the same since that time.
Upon the declared inability to furnish testimony to rebut the record of mental disease prior to enlistment, the claim for pension was rejected in 1883
In 1887 the case was reopened and a thorough examination was made as to soundness prior to enlistment and the origin and continuance of mental unsoundness.
Upon this examination evidence was taken showing that he was deficient intellectually when he joined the Army; that he was stationed where he was not much exposed, and that his duties were comparatively light; that he never was considered a boy of solid intelligence, and that he had epileptiform seizures prior to enlistment.
On the other hand, no disinterested and unbiased evidence was secured tending to rebut these conditions.
The claim was thereupon again rejected. This was a proper disposition of the case unless the Government is held liable for every disability which may afflict those who served in the Union Army.
To the Senate:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 14, 1889. I return without approval Senate bill No. 2665, entitled "An act granting a pension to Charles J. Esty."
A bill in precisely the same words as the bill herewith returned was approved on the 8th day of July, 1886, and under its provisions the beneficiary is now upon the pension rolls.
It is supposed that the bill now under consideration was passed by the Congress in ignorance of the previous statute. A duplication of the act would manifestly be entirely useless.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 21, 1889. To the House of Representatives:
I herewith return without approval House bill No. 1368, entitled “An act to quiet title of settlers on the Des Moines River lands, in the State of Iowa, and for other purposes."
This bill is to all intents and purposes identical with Senate bill No. 150, passed in the first session of the Forty-ninth Congress, which failed to receive Executive approval. My objections to that bill are set forth in a message transmitted to the Senate on the nth day of March, 1886.* They are all applicable to the bill herewith returned, and a careful reexamination of the matters embraced in this proposed legislation has further satisfied me of their validity and strength.
The trouble proposed to be cured by this bill grew out of the indefiniteness and consequent contradictory construction by the officers of the Government of a grant of land made in 1846 by Congress to the State of Iowa (then a Territory) for the purpose of aiding in the improvement of the Des Moines River. This grant was accepted on the oth day of January, 1847, by the State of Iowa, as required by the act of Congress, and soon thereafter the question arose whether the lands granted were limited to those which adjoined the river in its course northwesterly from the southerly line of the State to a point called the Raccoon Fork, or whether such grant covered lands so adjoining the river through its entire course through the Territory, and both below and above the Raccoon Fork.
The Acting Commissioner of the General Land Office, on the 17th day of October, 1846, instructed the officers of the land office in Iowa that the grant extended only to the Raccoon Fork.
On the 23d day of February, 1848, the Commissioner of the General Land Office held that the grant extended along the entire course of the river.
Notwithstanding this opinion, the President, in June, 1848, proclaimed
* See pp. 4996–4998.