I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted…
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, page 170 (1794–01-10) . The Annals summarize speeches in the third person, with the actual text of Madison’s quote as follows: “Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” The expense in question was for French refugees from the Haitian Revolution.
Context: 3rd Congress, Annals of Congress, House of Representatives
Tags: Congress, Constitution, article, benevolence, constituents, expending, grant, money, objects, right, undertake