The following is from the book Empire Express by David Haward Bain, Penguin Books 1999, page 670.
Over at Stanford’s car, where the Governor had entertained executives of both companies with California wine and fresh fruit and other victuals, the numerous champagne toasts were getting a little out of hand, There were several impromptu speeches and all went fine until Stanford rose to speak and launched into what Dodge recalled as “a severe attack upon the Government. He went so far as to claim that the subsidy instead of being a benefit. had rather been a detriment, with the conditions they had placed upon it.” Time and time again the companies had been scrutinized not only by its own government commissioners but by one government committee after another. Members of which, they all were aware, sometimes needed a little greasing before approving all the hard work. And now there were the “live eminent citizens” sent out by Congress, before the last special commissioners had written their report. Where was it to end? It was the wrong time and place to be complaining, and Dodge saw that everyone was discomfited by the diatribe. Dan Casement was by then feeling very merry. He climbed aboard his brother’s shoulders and called out: “Mr, President of the Central Pacific: If this subsidy has been such a detriment to the building of these roads, I move you. sir. that it be returned to the United States Government with our compliments!” This dare “brought a great cheer, ” Dodge said. “but put a very wet blanket over the rest of the time.”
Medicynical Note: It seems as if government subsidies (bailouts if you will) were written in the DNA of our country soon after it’s inception. Also noted in the above is the need for bribes to get the attention (read that votes) of our legislators–it’s just that over the years the price has gone up and the monied influence of these donors (lobbyists) has increased.
Trying to reclaim virtue by denying our history and what is still occurring and claiming that government oversight is not needed (with many thousand times greater expenditures and lobbying budgets) is silly and frankly a recipe for further disaster.