We gave last week a lengthy notice of Mr. Thomas Hill’s new and already famous painting of driving “The Last Spike.” We present our readers this week with an illustration giving an idea, in black and white, of what the said picture is like.
To all Californians the event, which linked our then isolated State to the rest of the Union, possesses a deep interest, and we do not pretend to arrogate to ourselves a larger share of that interest than is our due.
At the same time, we would remind our readers that the News Letter supplied the golden spike which wedded the West to the East. Its fac simile is shown in the accompanying cut. We would, also, modestly call attention to the fact that what we did at the beginning of these vast enterprise we have consistently upheld to the present day.
No sensible man now fails to recognize the fact that the transcontinental railroad has been the main artery through which has flowed the life-blood, not only of California, but of all the Western States. From it smaller railroads arteries have sprung, which, but for its maternal strength, would not have known life for centuries hence—perhaps never.
Our motto has always been: “Stick to your text,” and it was never more apropos than in our adherence to the doctrine that what the vulgar herd abuses as “monopolies,” sensible people should support.
But for the Central Pacific, San Francisco would still be an unregarded village on the extreme frontier of America—scarcely a part of the United States—and the same would be the case with Oregon, Washington Territory, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.
As is well known, the great project at first met with hot opposition. But it was taken in hand by a few determined, energetic and able men, who risked what fortune they had on the result. Their courage has been rewarded, to some extent, but the world at large has reaped more benefit from their enterprise than they themselves have, all grumblers to the contrary notwithstanding.
It, therefore, gives us great pleasure to know that, from the outset, the News Letter has appreciated the value of the iron road which binds California to the rest of the world, and we hope we are not vain in viewing Mr. Hill’s great picture as in some small degree a compliment to ourselves. Of course, we had no more to do with laying the track, or paying for it, than our neighbors, but we have at least done our best to hold the last spike where it was first driven, and have never lost an opportunity of reminding the people of the benefit which the overland route has been to the country.
San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
February 5, 1881
San Francisco Newsletter and California Advertiser