Sandusky Daily Commercial Register, December 5, 1860
The rage of the day, the sensation, the excitement, the panic, or whatever else is generally uppermost in the public mind on the streets, in the shops, in the hotels, on the cars, or wherever men are to be found, inevitably becomes the leading staple of the newspapers. It may be pleasant or unpleasant, agreeable or disagreeable, profitable or unprofitable, it does not matter, the editor's pen inevitably and of necessity runs into it. It may be some great scandal, some crushing accident, some overwhelming calamity, some monster crime; it may be of war or peace, the horror of the red battle-field, or some grand exhibition of the victories of peace—no matter, it becomes, by the bare fact of its engaging public attention, the leading topic of newspaper remark. Even the most staid and sober of the craft, who seek to lead to such fields as they may choose, get involved in the common fate in spite of all that they can do to stem the tide.
For weeks past, since South Carolina has become rampant, and cockades and bloody strips of bunting with savage mottoes have become so common at the South, and all hands are busy down there in invoking the bloody arbitrament of the sword, nothing can get into the popular ear but secession, disunion and division. Even the money crisis is mitigated or thrust back by the political crisis. With the fall of stocks and the high rates of exchange and the suspension of specie payments, come the tramp of the fabulous armies of Minute Men and all mingles in a whirl of excitement. Wherever men congregate, the inevitable theme comes uppermost, and with the established and immemorial question about the weather and the health, comes the query as to South Carolina and secession. Like the locusts of Egypt, it invades every place and creeps in every where.
It is no wonder that the pen-craft get into the general current, and try what they may for a leader, secession, panic, minute men, South Carolina, &c., come in long before the close. They are lucky, if the sleeping visions of the night (if they get any visions at all before morning) are not colored with the uniform hue. Forcible resistance to secession, peaceable secession, disunion, cotton, &c., meet the eye on the page of every paper opened. The broad paged dailies, which profess to lead, load down their columns, for the sake of impartiality, with discussions from every stand-point.
And so it goes. The reading world gets shocked up, and the newspaper press forthwith make it a principal business to shock them up more and more. All run in one channel and feed on one diet. No matter if it be bitter to the taste and unpalatable, it is the universal rage nevertheless. Just now it would seem as though there had been a surfeit of secession and disunion and that a change of newspaper topics was a desideratum. But what with Congress in session, a number of Southern Legislatures in session, a whole brood of "Union-savers" flying about with the clearly defined hope of getting some political advantage out of the general muddle, but with no kind of idea how matters are to be patched up to the general peace and their own great glory, there is no likelihood of a change for a month to come.
If South Carolina will only bring matters to a head by stepping out of the Union, if she really designs to go, there would be some hope of a change in regard to these matters. But we scarcely expect she will do any thing of the kind. As long as she can occupy so important and conspicuous a position to keep all the balance of the Union in a tumult, she will not take any decisive step to bring "Old Buck" down on her or compel him to back out. But a change will come, and therefore people as well as editors may as well bear the present and inevitable newspaper topics.