Let’s look at another newspaper, the Fayetteville Observer.
On October 20, the Observer ran a piece on the Raid on page 3, their first page being made up of advertisements, and their second page a piece on Kings Mountain and Blackbeard… The Observer’s coverage lasted almost two columns. Their headline is “Startling News from Virginia,” and interestingly enough, at first the author believes that the Raid was a riot of workers at the Arsenal. They are not (at least yet) attacking anyone like the Weekly Standard did.
The next issue was published on October 24, and much of the paper is devoted to the Raid. On page two, E. J. Hale, the editor, sums of the Raid from accounts from other newspapers. Interestingly enough, Hale looks at reports in Northern newspapers for how they reacted to Brown’s Raid. Hale found several neutral – the Journal of Commerce, Democratic, the Express, Whig, and the Day Book, all published in New York. The “incendiary” Evening Post apparently justified the actions of Brown.
Coverage was scaled back on October 27. On page two was an article concerning a trunk that reputably belonged to Brown. The trunk contained maps of the other Southern cities. On page three, Hale again looks at Northern newspaper reaction to Brown’s raid, and finds the papers in Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia “sound and patriotic.” The editor did find problems with the Ohio State Journal and Boston Daily Advertiser. Hale believed that much good would come out of the Raid. He wrote that
Beside the natural effect of deterring others from following an example where only disgrace and death are the rewards of the conspirator, where the State and Nation instantly unite their powers to punish them, and where there is an almost universal expression of abhorrence and detestation of their crime—another good result is manifest, in the clear line of separation which it has been made between the handful of Abolitionists and the great host of Republicans. That line had been almost obliterated—we in the South have been accustomed to consider it entirely obliterated. To see that it is not so, but only to read the conspiracy. With the exception of such fanatics as Greely of the Tribune and Bryant of the Evening Post, there is one united and overwhelming burst of condemnation.
And while this ought to lead, and doubtless will lead, to a more kindly spirit between the sections, since it shows that after all we are not so widely separated as had been feared, it will be a death blow to the Presidential aspirations of such ultraists as Seward, and Chase, whose speeches have encouraged outrages like this at Harper’s Ferry. The outbreak has come in good time to prevent the Republicans from nominating any man of their stamp.
The next issue, published on October 31, took excerpts from other newspapers to further inform their readers of the events that had transpired. These excerpts take about two columns of page two and are the only mentions of the Raid in that issue, although the Observer does make some mention of letters passed between abolitionists.