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Die Leckshun is Ewwa Ferlohra / The Election Is Plain Lost (1864)

E_H_RauchThe following is a political dialog written by Edward Henry Rauch (1820–1902) and published in the October 18, 1864, issue of his newspaper, Father Abraham (Reading, PA). The full page is accessible here. Unlike the great majority of the Pennsylvania Dutch, Rauch was a “Radical” Republican, and therefore an ardent supporter of Abraham Lincoln during his 1864 reelection campaign against the Democratic candidate, George B. McClellan. The characters in Rauch’s dialog are two Pennsylvania Dutchmen from Reading, John and Godlieb, who discuss the recent state and local elections in which the Republicans narrowly carried the vote in the city, though they lost decisively in the rural areas of Berks County. Not surprisingly, Rauch depicts John and Godlieb as seeing the light and deciding to vote for Lincoln in the presidential election, which took place two weeks after this dialog appeared. The results of the October election were repeated in November: Lincoln lost overwhelmingly in Berks County overall, though, to Rauch’s delight, the incumbent president won in Reading, albeit by a single percentage point.

Rauch preferred to orient the spelling of his writings in Pennsylvania Dutch more toward English than German, so in addition to Rauch’s original a transliteration following BBB conventions is given below.


John – Well, du, sog amohl, husht shun g’hehrt wie die leckshun gonga is?Godlieb – Ei ich war letsht nacht in Reading un about am nine uhr do hehr ichs emohl donnera—gontz immer un eawig hots gekra[ch]t. Well, ich bin don graud nye gonga un emohl nochgefroked was des ding mehnt—denk ich, desmohl hen mers doch gewoona. Awer, holes mich der diefel wan’s net die Lincum’s leit wara wu g’shussa hen. Ich bin don shnoor graud widder tsurick ins wertshouse un ins bett. Negsht morya bin ich free uf-g’shtonna, mei drunk brondy win g’numma un zu der deer nous. Well, des ding war goot, donna treff ich der lawyer Boyer au, un hab ach hands g’shaked mit ihm. Misder Boyer, sog ich, des is shay wedder den morga. Yah, secht der Boyer, des is orrick shay. Well, now, ich sog mer emohl wie is do[n]n die leckshun gonga? Ei, secht der Mike, ferdeivelt shlec[ht]. Sis alle ferlohra. Sag ich, wie is donn sell—wie koomts? Ei, secht der Mike, unsery wahra ewwa all drous um welshkorn boshta un um buch-wehtsa dresha. Im November missa mer besser doo. Yah, un awer shlechter, wie sella mer donn den weg der Macklullig electa? Ei, secht der Mike, ferleicht dunna die onnere uf unser seit vota. Well, hab ich g’saht, sell deena sie doch net, for ich wehs wie ferdeivelt shtar-keppich das sie sin. Sell is exactly mei glauwa, secht der Mike, un awer, du wehsht, mer missa doch dertsu shticka, un so goot du as mer kenna. Ich kann der sauga, John, es gookt ferdeihenkert dotterich alleweil.John – Well, ich wehs net wie’s is. Ich bin so an wenig gebottert. Ich glaub’s besht ding das mer doo kennt wer emohl ach oof die onner seit shtimma.

Godlieb – Koom, now, net so. Shtick zu der party.

John – Stick zum deivel! Ich duhs net. Ich geh beim deihenker for der Lincoln, for er is anyhow der besht.

Godlieb – Well, ich glaub auch sis eppas lets, was fehlt wehs ich net, un awer ich glaub so holwer dos unsery leeders nimmy exactly sin wie sie sei setta, soonsht deht net alles soonersht seversht geh.

John – Well donn, los uns uf die onner seit shtimma. Sell deht ferleicht alles recht bringa.

Godlieb – So sogt mei Alty [a]ch, un awer ich wehs net recht.

John – Un awer ich wehs was ich duh—wie g’saht ich vote for der Lincoln.

Godlieb – Well, donn, let her rib. Ich glaub ich wills ach prowiera. Kumm, los uns geh un emohl chirs drinka.

John – Well, du, saag emol, hoscht schun gheert, wie die Leckschen gange is?Godlieb – Ei, ich waar letscht Nacht in Reading un ebaut am nein Uhr, do heer ich’s emol donnere—gans immer un ewich hot’s gegracht. Well, ich bin dann grad nei gange un [hab] emol noochgfroogt, was des Ding meent—denk ich, desmol hen mer’s doch gwunne. Awwer, hol’s mich der Deifel wann’s net die Lincolns-Leit waare, wu gschosse hen. Ich bin dann schnurgraad widder tserick ins Wertshaus un ins Bett. Negscht Marrige bin ich frieh ufgschtanne, mei Drank Brandiwein gnumme un zu der Dier naus. Well, des Ding waar gut, deno dreff ich der Lawyer Boyer aa, un hab ach Hands gshaked mit ihm. “Misder Boyer,” saag ich, “des is schee Wedder den Marrige.” “Ya,” secht der Boyer, “des is arrick schee.” “Well, nau,” ich saag mer emol, “wie is dann die Leckschen gange?” “Ei,” secht der Mike, “ferdeiwelt schlecht. S’is all verlore.” Saag ich, “Wie is dann sell—wie kummt’s?” “Ei,” secht der Mike, “unseri waare ewwe all draus am Welschkann baschte un am Buchweeze dresche. Im November misse mer besser duh.” “Ya, un awwer schlechter, wie selle mer dann den Weg der McClullig [McClellan] electe?” “Ei,” secht der Mike, “verleicht duhne die onnere uf unser Seit vote.” “Well,” hab ich g’saat, “sell diehne sie doch net, fer ich wees wie ferdeiwelt schtarrkeppich, dass sie sin.” “Sell is exactly mei Glaawe,” secht der Mike, “un awwer, du weescht, mer misse doch dezu schticke, un so gut duh as mer kenne.” Ich kann der saage, John, es guckt verdeihenkert datterich alleweil.

John – Well, ich wees net wie’s is. Ich bin so en wennich gebaddert. Ich glaab s’bescht Ding, dass mer duh kennt, waer emol ach uf die anner Seit schtimme.

Godlieb – Kumm, nau, net so. Schtick zu der Party.

John – Schtick zum Deiwel! Ich duh’s net. Ich geh beim Deihenker fer der Lincoln, fer er is ennihau der Bescht.

Godlieb – Well, ich glaab aa, s’is eppes letz, was fehlt, wees ich net, un awwer ich glaab so halwer, dass unseri Lieders nimmi exactly sin, wie sie sei sette, sunscht deet net alles s’unnerscht s’ewwerscht geh.

John – Well dann, loss uns uf die anner Seit schtimme. Sell deet verleicht alles recht bringe.

Godlieb – So saagt mei Alti [a]ch, un awwer ich wees net recht.

John – Un awwer ich wees, was ich duh—wie gsaat, ich vote fer der Lincoln.

Godlieb – Well, dann, let her rip. Ich glaab, ich will’s ach browiere. Kumm, loss uns geh un emol Cheers drinke.

John – Say, have you heard already how the election went?Godlieb – My, I was in Reading last night and at about nine o’clock I heard it thundering, forever and ever cracking. So I went right on in and asked around what was going on. I thought, this time we actually won. But I’ll be, if it wasn’t the Lincoln people who were shooting. I made a beeline back to the tavern and then went to bed. The next morning I got up early, took my drink of brandy wine, and headed out the door. Well, this was good, and then I met the the lawyer Boyer and shook hands with him. “Mr. Boyer,” I said, “this is nice weather this morning.” “Yes,” said Boyer, “it’s very nice.” “Well now,” I said, “how did the election go?” “Well,” Mike said, “darned bad. Everything is lost.” I said, “How is that? How did that happen?” “Well,” Mike said, “our people were all out husking corn and threshing buckwheat. In November we’ll have to do better.” “Yes, and worse, how will be be able to elect McClellan that way?” “Well,” Mike said, “maybe the others will vote on our side.” “Well,” I said, “they won’t do that, because I know how darned stubborn they are.” “That’s exactly what I think,” Mike said, “but you know, we have to stay the course and do as well as we can.” I can tell you, John, it looks darned scary right now.John – Well, I don’t know how it is. I’m just a little bothered. I think the best thing that one could do would be to vote for the other side.

Godlieb – Come now, don’t talk that way. Stick to the party.

John – Stick my eye! I won’t do it. I’m going for Lincoln, by crack, because he’s anyhow the best one.

Godlieb – Well, I also think that something’s wrong, just what, I don’t know, but I’m thinking that our leaders aren’t exactly like they should be anymore, otherwise things wouldn’t be so topsy-turvy.

John – Well, then, let’s vote for the other side. That might make everything right.Godlieb – That’s what my wife says too, but I just don’t know.

John – But I know what I’ll do. Like I say, I’m voting for Lincoln.

Godlieb – Well, then, let ’er rip. I think I’ll try it, too. Come on, let’s go have a drink.