THE SACRAMENTO UNION
DURING FEBRUARY 1868, the Central Pacific Company received a severe blow which both grieved and angered them; grieved because of the loss of a hitherto strong advocate, and angered because of the injustice of the unprovoked, virulent attacks.
The Sacramento Union, the most powerful and influential newspaper in California, that had been a staunch supporter of the railroad company since its organization, suddenly and without warning changed to the ranks of the Opposition and became one of the bitterest foes of the builders.
The breach seems to have occurred in February 1868. On the 7th of that month the Union published an editorial defending the maximum rates charged by the railroad because of the "uncommonly expensive road to run." On February 17, however, an editorial denounced the Central Pacific Company and approved the bill to reduce railway charges. The completeness of the change-over is shown by the following derisive item that appeared in the issue of March 10:
The Central Pacific--poor, starving, frozen thing which the credulous public warmed into life by its charities--is about to prove a very Egyptian asp and sting the hand that nourished it with a more deadly venom than slave lords ever possessed.