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英汉双语《西南联大英文课》40:美国人对自由之热爱_埃德蒙·伯克

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40 THE AMERICAN LOVE OF FREEDOM

By Edmund Burke

THE AMERICAN LOVE OF FREEDOM, from his “Conciliation with the Colonies.” Speech in Parliament March 22, 1775, against the Penal Bill proposed by Lord North, a bill which became law on March 30, 1775.

Edmund Burke (1727-1797), English statesman and orator.

英汉双语《西南联大英文课》40:美国人对自由之热爱_埃德蒙·伯克

In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole; and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies probably than in any other people of the earth, and this from a great variety of powerful causes; which, to understand the true temper of their minds and the direction which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely.

1. First, the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen. England, Sir, is a nation which still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas, and on English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; and every nation has formed to itself some favorite point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness. It happened, you know, Sir, that the great contests for freedom in this country were from the earliest times chiefly upon the question of taxing. Most of the contests in the ancient commonwealths turned primarily on the right of election of magistrates; or on the balance among the several orders of the state. The question of money was not with them so immediate. But in England it was otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest pens, and most eloquent tongues, have been exercised; the greatest spirits have acted and suffered. In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the excellence of the English Constitution to insist on the privilege of granting money as a dry point of fact, and to prove that the right had been acknowledged in ancient parchments and blind usages to reside in a certain body called a House of Commons. They went much farther; they attempted to prove and they succeeded, that in theory it ought to be so, from the particular nature of a House of Commons as an immediate representative of the people, whether the old records had delivered this oracle or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that in all monarchies the people must in effect themselves, mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty could subsist. The colonies draw from you, as with their life-blood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and attached on this specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe, or might be endangered, in twenty other particulars, without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse; as they found that beat, they thought themselves sick or sound. I do not say whether they were right or wrong in applying your general arguments to their own case. It is not easy, indeed, to make a monopoly of theorem and corollaries. The fact is, that they did thus apply these general arguments; and your mode of governing them, whether through lenity or indolence, through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the imagination that they, as well as you, had an interest in these common principles.

2. They were further confirmed in this pleasing error by the form of their provincial legislature assemblies. Their governments are popular in a high degree; some are merely popular; in all, the popular representative is the most weighty;and this share of the people in their ordinary government never fails to inspire them with lofty sentiments, and with a strong aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief importance.

3. If anything were wanting to this necessary operation of the form of government, religion would have given it a complete effect. Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people are Protestants; and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not only favorable to liberty but built upon it. I do not think , Sir, that the reason of this averseness in the dissenting churches from all that looks like absolute government is so much to be sought in their religious tenets, as in their history. Everyone knows that the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with most of the governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone hand in hand with them, and received great favor and every kind of support from authority. The Church of England too was formed from her cradle under the nursing care of regular government. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct opposition to all the ordinary powers of the world, and could justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. Their very existence depended on the powerful and unremitted assertion of that claim. All Protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the Protestantism of the Protestant religion. This religion, under a variety of denominations agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit of liberty, is predominant in most of the northern provinces, where the Church of England, notwithstanding its legal rights, is in reality no more than a sort of private sect, not composing most probably the tenth of the people. The colonists left Englalnd when this spirit was high, and in the emigrants was the highest of all; and even that stream of foreigners which has been constantly flowing into these colonies has, for the greatest part, been composed of dissenters from the establishments of their several countries, who have brought with them a temper and character far from alien to that of the people with whom they mixed.

4. Sir, I can perceive by their manner that some gentlemen object to the latitude of this description, because in the southern colonies the Church of England forms a large body, and has a regular establishment. It is certainly true. There is, however, a circumstance attending these colonies which, in my opinion, fully counterbalances this difference, and makes the spirit of liberty still more high and haughty than in those to the northward. It is that in Virginia and the Carolinas they have a vast multitude of slaves. Where this is the case in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing there, that freedom, as in countries where it is a common blessing and as broad and general as the air, may be united with much abject toil, with great misery, with all the exterior of servitude, liberty looks, amongst them, like something that is more noble and liberal. I do not mean, Sir, to commend the superior morality of this sentiment, which has at least as much pride as virtue in it; but I cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is so; and these people of the southern colonies are much more strongly, and with a higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty than those to the northward. Such were all the ancient commonwealths; such were our Gothic ancestors; such in our days were the Poles;and such will be all masters of slaves, who are not slaves themselves. In such a people the haughtiness of domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible

5. Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies which contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The profession itself is numerous and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies sent to Congress were lawyers. But all who read, and most do read, endeavor to obtain some smattering in that science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the Plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use. I hear that they have sold nearly as many of Blackstone's Commentaries in America as in England. General Gage marks out this disposition very particularly in a letter on your table. He states that all the people in his government are lawyers, or smattered in law;and that in Boston they have been enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of your capital penal constitutions. The smartness of debate will say that this knowledge ought to teach them more clearly the rights of legislature, their obligations to obedience, and the penalties of rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my honorable and learned friend on the floor, who condescends to mark what I say for animadversion, will disdain that ground. He has heard, as well as I, that when great honors and great emoluments do not win over this knowledge to the service of that state, it is a formidable adversary to government. If the spirit be not tamed and broken by these happy methods, it is stubborn and litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. This study renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.

6. The last cause of this disobedient spirit in the colonies is hardly less powerful than the rest, as it is not merely moral, but laid deep in the natural constitution of things. Three thousand miles of ocean lie between you and them. No contrivance can prevent the effect of this distance in weakening government. Seas roll, and months pass, between the order and the execution; and the want of a speedy explanation of a single point is enough to defeat a whole system. You have, indeed, winged ministers of vengeance, who carry your bolts in their pounces to the remotest verge of the sea. But there is a power steps in that limits the arrogance of raging passions and furious elements, and says, “So far shalt thou go, and no farther.” Who are you, that you should fret and rage, and bite the chains of nature? Nothing worse happens to you than does to all nations who have extensive empire; and it happens in all the forms into which empire can be thrown. In large bodies the circulation of power must be less vigorous at the extremities. Nature has said it. The Turk cannot govern Egypt and Arabia and Kurdistan as he governs Thrace; nor has he the same dominion in Crimea and Algiers which he has at Brusa and Smyrna. Despotism itself is obliged to truck and huckster. The Sultan gets such obedience as he can. He governs with a loose rein, that he may govern at all;and the whole of the force and vigor of his authority in his center is derived from a prudent relaxation in all his borders. Spain, in her provinces, is, perhaps, not so well obeyed as you are in yours. She complies, too; she submits; she watches time. This is the immutable condition, the eternal law of extensive and detached empire.

(Summary) Then, Sir, from these six capital sources—of descent, of form of government, of religion in the northern provinces, of manners in the southern, of education, of the remoteness of situation from the first mover of government—from all these causes a fierce spirit of liberty has grown up. It has grown with the growth of the people in your colonies, and increased with the increase of their wealth;a spirit that unhappily meeting with an exercise of power in England which, however lawful, is not reconcilable to any ideas of liberty, much less with theirs, has kindled this flame that is ready to consume us.

参考译文

【作品简介】

《美国人对自由之热爱》节选自埃德蒙·伯克2018-08-17在英国议会为反对刑罚法案所做的演讲《与美国和解》,该项由诺斯勋爵提交的法案于2018-08-17正式立法。

【作者简介】

埃德蒙·伯克(1727—1797),英国政治家和演说家。

40 美国人对自由之热爱

美国人的性格中,对自由的热爱是主要特点,正是这一特点成为美国人整体性格的标志,美国人其与众不同的标签;由于对某种东西的热爱总是使人害怕失去这种东西,因此,如果你们的殖民地看到你们有一丝企图想通过暴力剥夺或通过诡计骗走他们唯一值得期盼的利益,它们就会变得多疑、难以驾驭和控制。这种强烈的自由精神在英国的殖民地也许比地球上任何其他国家都要强烈,而且,这种自由精神的确立拥有众多强有力的原因。为了理解美国人性情中的真正特征以及这种精神发展的方向,有必要更详细地阐发一下。

1.首先,殖民地的人民是英国人的后代。勋爵阁下,英格兰曾经是多么崇拜自由,我希望今天的英格兰依然是一个尊重自由的国家。就在你们性格中的这部分特点最突出的时候,现在的殖民者离开你们移居国外,他们离开时就带着这种爱好和倾向。因此,他们不仅仅献身于自由,而且是根据英国人的信念和原则献身于自由。抽象的自由,就像其他纯粹的抽象事物一样无处可寻。自由存在于可觉察的事物中;每个国家都形成了自己最喜爱的某个方面,通过推崇这一方面使之成为他们幸福的标准。勋爵阁下,要知道,这个国家因自由而发生的重大对抗最早恰巧是因为征税而引起的。古代联邦中,绝大部分争论主要集中在地方行政官的选举权方面,或集中在国家几个阶层之间的平衡方面。钱的问题与他们之间的联系并不是很直接。可是,在英格兰,情况并非如此。关于税收这一点,最有才华的写手和最善言辞的说客都各显其能,最伟大的人物也都投身其中并深受其害。为了最大限度地表现这一点的重要性,辩称英国宪法卓越的人不仅需要坚持认为缴税的特权就像事实的明证,而且要证明这种权利早就得到古老羊皮纸文献以及名为下议院的特殊机构中惯例的承认。远不止如此,这部分人试图证明自己成功了,理论上应该如此,因为下议院作为人民直接代表的属性决定了这一点,无论古老的记录是否做出了这样的预言。他们竭尽全力反复强调,作为一条基本原则,在所有的君主制国家中,人民必须保持自己间接或直接缴纳钱财的权力有效,否则自由的庇护将不复存在。殖民地源自你们,他们的命脉、理念和原则也都源自你们。他们对自由的热爱和你们一样,都植根并附着于征税这一特定方面。自由可能是安全的,也可能是有危险的,在其他二十项详细说明中,他们并没有感到非常高兴或极度惊慌。但他们感受到了自由的脉搏,因为通过脉搏的跳动可以确定自己是生病还是健康。我不是判定他们将你们的一般论证用于自己的情况是对还是错。的确,要完全控制定理和推论并不容易。事实上,他们的确应用这些一般论证;你们统治他们的方式,无论仁慈还是懒惰,明智还是错误,都使他们在想象中确认:他们和你们一样,都对这些一般原则感兴趣。

2.他们省级立法机关的组成形式使他们进一步确信这种错误令人愉悦,他们的政府有的极受欢迎;有的仅仅是受欢迎,总之,受欢迎的代表最为重要,普通政府中的这种人总是成功地激发他们的高尚情操,以及对剥夺他们最重要权利的任何企图强烈厌恶。

3.如果说这种形式的政府进行必要的运转还缺少什么,那么宗教将使其达到完美的效果。宗教始终是能量的源泉,在这些新的民众间丝毫没有受到消耗或损害;民众的表达方式也是这种自由精神的一个主要动因。这些人是新教徒,他们最反对精神和观点方面的任何盲从与屈服。这一教派不仅赞成自由,而且其形成的基础就是自由。勋爵阁下,我认为看上去完全像专制政府的异见教会中出现这种反对意见的原因大多无法在他们的宗教信条或历史中找到。每个人都知道,罗马天主教在其盛行的地方至少与大部分政府同时并存;而且通常与政府联系紧密,从行政管理机构中获得巨大利益及各种支持。英国国教会也是在合法政府的关怀照顾下发展起来的。可是,异见群体涌现出来,如果想直接反对世界上所有平常的强权,只能通过大力宣扬天赋自由来为这种反对进行辩护。这种群体的存在依赖于对天赋自由这一权利的持续需求,而且这一需求变得非常强烈。所有的新教徒,包括最冷淡的人和最消极的人在内,都不顺从英国国教。可是,我们北美殖民地上最流行的宗教是对抵抗原则的革新,是异见派中的异见,新教中的新教。这种宗教,教派名称各异,除了共享自由精神外,各个方面均不一致,主要在北部各省流行。英国国教在这些地方虽然拥有法定权利,但实际上仅仅是一种私人教派,信奉的人不到十分之一。这些殖民者在新教精神高涨时离开英国,在移民过程中,新教精神达到顶点;持续移民到这些殖民地的外国人绝大部分是所在国的异见派,他们的性情和性格与殖民地的其他人极为相似。

4.勋爵阁下,通过有些议员的态度,我能感觉到他们反对这种描述,因为在南部殖民地,英国国教会形成了一个大的团体,建立了正规的机构。这当然是事实。不过,依我看来,这些殖民地所处的环境完全可以抵消这种差别,使自由精神依然高涨,甚至超过北方。在弗吉尼亚和南北卡罗来纳,有数量众多的奴隶。在世界任何一个情况类似的地方,拥有自由的人最为自己的自由感到骄傲和自豪。对他们而言,自由不仅仅是一种享受,更是一种等级和特权。自由在有些国家是一种普通的幸福,就像天空一样宽广,像空气一样常见,在这里,情况完全不同,自由可能与凄惨的劳役、巨大的痛苦、明显的奴役联系在一起,自由在其中显得更为高贵和开放。勋爵阁下,我并不是要赞美这种情操的超群道义,这种情操至少与其中的美德同样让人自豪,但是,我无法改变人的本性。事实如此,南方殖民地的人相对于北方人对自由的热爱更为强烈,捍卫自由的精神更高涨,意志更坚定。古代所有的联邦都是如此,我们的哥特祖先也是如此,波兰人也不例外,所有的奴隶主也将如此,因为他们本身没有做过奴隶。在这样的人民中间,唯我独尊的傲慢与自由之精神结合在一起,使自由进一步加强,变得不可战胜。

5.勋爵阁下,请允许我补充殖民地的另一个情况,这一情况对自由这种难以控制的精神之发展及影响发挥了重要作用。我指的是这些人的教育。也许,世界上没有任何一个国家能像这个国家如此普遍地学习法学,不仅从事法学的职业人士众多,而且受法学的影响很大,在大部分省份,法学都居于首位。国会议员大多是律师。所有能阅读的人(这里绝大部分的人都喜欢阅读)都试图了解这一学科。一位著名的书商告诉我,除了备受欢迎的礼拜手册外,没有哪类书能像法律图书一样如此众多地出口到这块殖民地。现在,殖民者已经开始印刷法律图书供自己使用。听说布莱克斯通的《英国法释义》(—译《英格兰法释义》)在美国和在英国售出的数量相当。在您桌上的一封信件里,盖奇将军特别描述了这一倾向。他说自己的政府中所有的人都是律师或者略懂法律的人,在波士顿,他们能够通过成功的诡辩,完全逃避你们重要刑法的大部分惩罚。精明的辩驳会说,法律知识应该使他们更明白立法机构的权利,明白他们应该遵守的义务以及反抗带来的处罚。这种说法很有道理。可是,议员席上屈尊批评我的那位可敬而博学的朋友,将会鄙弃这一立论根据。他听到的和我听到的一样,那就是:如果无上的荣誉和丰厚的报酬未能使这种知识服务于国家,那么它将成为政府可怕的对手。如果这种精神没有被这些巧妙的方法所驯服和破坏,那么这种精神就会变得难以处理,变成容易引起争辩之事。凡有所学,皆成性格。这种学习使人敏锐,使人好奇,使人灵巧,使人敏于攻击,使人善于防守,使人左右逢源。在其他国家,人民相对更简单,没有那么精明,只能通过人民经受的苦难来判断政府政策的错误,而这里的人民能够预测不幸,评判恶政带来的苦难压力。他们可以提前预言恶政,消灭每个处于萌芽阶段的暴政。

6.殖民地这种反抗精神的最后一个原因与其他原因相比并不逊色,因为这一原因不仅仅属于道德层面,还深深植根于事物的自然法则之中。您和他们之间隔着三千英里的海洋,没有什么办法能够阻止这一距离对统治的削弱作用。命令与其实际执行之间隔着波浪滔滔的大海和流逝的岁月,如果对某一方面无法进行快速解释,就足以破坏整个系统。的确,您迅速派出了复仇大使,带着弩箭突袭最遥远的海岸。可是,有一种力量限制了这种傲慢的愤怒和狂暴的因素,它在说“你也只能到这么远,不能再远”。你是谁,竟然如此烦躁和愤怒并撕咬大自然的链条?你们不会遭遇到比所有辽阔的帝国更糟糕的事情,这些事情以各种形式出现,使蒙受这些遭遇的帝国遭到抛弃。在辽阔的疆域,权力的循环到达末端时必定变得无力。大自然已经证明了这一点。土耳其无法像统治色雷斯那样统治埃及、阿拉伯半岛和库尔德斯坦;也无法在克里米亚和阿尔及尔实行与在布尔萨和士麦那一样的统治。专制本身不得不进行交易和讨价还价,连苏丹都不得不服从这一规律。他采用松散的统治方式,这样就可以从根本上进行统治,他中央权力所有的力量和活力源自整个疆域内松散的管理,这一做法极为精明。他统治的西班牙也许不像您自己的领地那样顺从。但西班牙也服从,也顺从,等待时机的到来。这种状况不会改变,是辽阔而松散帝国面临的永恒法则。

(总结)勋爵阁下,通过这六个重要来源(血统、政体形式、北部各省的宗教、南方的习俗、教育、统治一开始就出现的遥远距离)所有这些促使强烈的自由精神成长起来。自由精神伴随着殖民地人民共同成长,随着他们财富的增加而变得日益强烈。这种精神不幸遇到了英国的强权。尽管,这种强权的运用是合法的,却和所有的自由理念冲突,与殖民地人民的自由理念更是不相吻合,因此,已经激发出必将毁灭我们的火焰。

(彭萍 译)


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