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#40: The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr, Former VP

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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English.

Aaron Burr was vice president of the United States. His term came to an end in eighteen hundred and five. He was heavily in debt and his political future did not look promising.

在上次的建国史话中我们讲到,托马斯.杰斐逊第一届任期内的副总统艾伦.伯尔1805年离任。当时,他债务缠身,政治前途渺茫。

Burr was not without plans, however. For some time, he had been considering an idea. He wanted to seize Mexico from Spain. Burr made secret deals with a number of people. He told them different things to get their help or their money for his plan.

不过,他早就在筹划一项秘密行动,打算把墨西哥从西班牙人手中抢过来。他为了得到资助,私下里联络了不少人,但是告诉每个人的内容都不一样。

What was Aaron Burr's real goal? Was it to seize Mexico? Or was it to create a country of his own out of some of America's western lands? The facts are not clear.

伯尔真正的目的是什么?真的是想夺取墨西哥吗?还是要拉拢西部各州,另立门户,建立自己的国家呢?历史上并没有清楚的记载。

Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr

This week in our series, Shirley Griffith and Steve Ember tell about Burr's secret activities, and the trial that ended them.

(MUSIC) VOICE TWO:

Burr traveled west in the spring of eighteen-oh-five. His trip would take him down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to the port city of New Orleans. In that city, he talked with a number of rich, powerful men. He explained his plan. And he found support among those who wished to end Spanish control of Mexico. Burr was then ready to return east and put his plan into action.

1805年春天,伯尔动身西行。他途径俄亥俄和密西西比河,来到港口城市新奥尔良。他在新奥尔良召集了一些有钱有势的人,向他们解释了自己的计划。那些对西班牙统治不满的人愿意支持他。伯尔深受鼓舞,准备返回东部,付诸行动。

VOICE ONE:

On the way back, Burr stopped in Saint Louis to see General James Wilkinson, governor of the Louisiana Territory. Wilkinson was plotting with Burr.

回程途中,伯尔到圣路易斯去会见詹姆斯.威尔金森将军。威尔金森是路易斯安那的州长,也是伯尔的同谋。

At the same time, however, Wilkinson was spying for Spain. He did not want to lose the money Spain paid him for information. So he began to think about how he could pull out of Burr's plan.

但与此同时,威尔金森还有另外一重身份--为西班牙充当间谍。他舍不得西班牙人给的钱,所以绞尽脑汁,想退出伯尔的计划。

He advised Burr that it might be best to forget Mexico, that perhaps the time was not right. He offered to help Burr get back into politics as a congressman from Indiana.

威尔金森告诉伯尔说,最好不要惦记墨西哥了,因为时机尚未成熟,他主动提出愿意帮助伯尔返回政界,去做印第安纳州的国会议员。

Burr rejected Wilkinson's offer. He was not yet ready to give up his dream about Mexico.

伯尔断然拒绝,他不想放弃夺取墨西哥的梦想。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Burr had hoped to begin his move against Mexico in the spring of eighteen-oh-six. Without money, however, he could do nothing.

伯尔原计划1806年春天动手,但是资金上却出现了问题。

He tried to get money from people who might be interested in sharing the riches of Mexico. But he was not successful. Nor did he get the money and ships he had asked earlier from Britain.

他试图说服那些想分享墨西哥财富的人投资,但没有成功,不仅如此,他原本寄重于英国,但是英国也没有为他提供资金和船只。

VOICE ONE:

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

War between the United States and Spain was an important part of Burr's plan. Should there be such a war, Burr was sure the men of the western lands would join him against the Spanish in Mexico. Without war, the campaign might fail.

根据伯尔的计划,美国必须跟西班牙交战。战火一旦爆发,大家肯定会跟他站在一起,共同对付西班牙,伯尔对此深信不疑。但是如果没有战争,伯尔的计划就会泡汤。

Burr received bad news after he returned to Washington.

He met with President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson made clear that there would be no war with Spain.

伯尔回到华盛顿后,听到了坏消息。他会见托马斯.杰斐逊总统时,杰斐逊明确表示,美国不会跟西班牙开战。

After his meeting with Jefferson, Burr began to make new plans. He would forget the idea of invading Mexico -- at least temporarily. Instead, he said he would build a settlement in Louisiana and wait for a better time.

面对这种情况,伯尔只好改变计划,决定暂时不去考虑进攻墨西哥,而是在路易斯安那建立一个定居点,等待时机。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

While Aaron Burr had been traveling in the west, stories began to spread about his activities. Newspaper reports came close to accusing him of plotting to split the Union. People seemed willing to believe the reports. This was the situation General Wilkinson would use to pull out of Burr's plan.

伯尔离开华盛顿的这段时间里,出现了很多有关他的传闻。一些报导旁敲侧击地指责他阴谋分裂,老百姓似乎也都愿意相信。这种局势给詹姆斯.威尔金森将军摆脱伯尔提供了绝妙的机会。

Wilkinson wrote a letter to President Jefferson. He claimed that a force of ten thousand men was moving toward New Orleans. He said it was part of a campaign against Mexico. He gave details of the campaign, but claimed he did not know who was leading it. He warned the president that the force might try to seize Louisiana as well as Mexico.

威尔金森写信给总统杰斐逊。信中说,一股一万人的部队正直扑新奥尔良,准备攻打墨西哥。威尔金森在信中提供了计划的细节,但表示,不知道谁是主谋。他警告杰斐逊说,这股部队的目标不仅是墨西哥,可能还有路易斯安那。

VOICE ONE:

It was not the first letter Jefferson received about Burr's Mexican campaign. Nor was it the first to say that Burr was, in fact, planning to split some western states from the Union. But, unlike the other letters, Jefferson accepted Wilkinson's as firm evidence against Burr.

其实,这并不是杰斐逊收到的有关伯尔打算进攻墨西哥的第一份密信,也不是第一封指责伯尔企图让西部各州分裂出去的告发信。但是,杰斐逊却决定把威尔金森的信作为制裁伯尔的证据。

The president called a cabinet meeting to discuss what should be done. The result of the meeting was this: all American military commanders were ordered to stop Burr.

杰斐逊召集内阁会议,讨论对策。会议最终决定,美国所有军事指挥官都要设法制止伯尔。

President Jefferson then made a public declaration. He said a private military campaign was about to begin against the Spanish, and that anyone involved should leave it immediately. The declaration did not speak of Aaron Burr by name.

杰斐逊总统随即发表公开宣言。他表示,有人打算针对西班牙发动一场秘密军事行动,涉嫌者必须立即离开,但是宣言中没有提到伯尔的名字。

VOICE TWO:

Jefferson also spoke of the private military campaign in his yearly State of the Union message to Congress. Congress asked for more information. In a special message, the president said Burr had several plans. One was to split the western states from the Union. Another was to seize Mexico. He said Burr wanted to make people believe he was building a settlement in Louisiana. But, he said, that was just a trick.

杰斐逊在一年一度向国会发表的国情咨文讲话中也提到了伯尔的秘密军事行动。国会要求了解更多的情况。杰斐逊在给国会的文件中说,伯尔的计划有几个,其中一个是让西部各州分裂出去,另外一个是夺取墨西哥。杰斐逊说,伯尔希望让大家以为他是在路易斯安那建立一个定居点,但其实这只是一个掩人耳目的幌子。

The president said Burr had discovered that the people of the western states would not support any attempt to take them out of the Union. So, the president said, Burr had decided to capture New Orleans. Jefferson said there was no question that Burr was guilty.

杰斐逊还说,伯尔发现,西部的人不支持他的分裂主张,所以决定夺取新奥尔良。杰斐逊说,伯尔有罪,这一点毫无疑问。

(MUSIC)

Court order for President Thomas Jefferson to appear at Aaron Burr's treason trial
Court order for President Thomas Jefferson to appear at Aaron Burr's treason trial

VOICE ONE:

Burr's guilt had not been proved in court. But to many Americans, Jefferson's statement was taken as truth. Some demanded that Burr be put to death for treason.

虽然法庭还没有给伯尔定罪,但是在很多美国人眼里,杰斐逊的声明就是事实。一些人要求以叛国罪处死伯尔。

The crime of treason, as explained in America's Constitution, is the act of a citizen making war against the United States.

根据美国宪法,要被裁定犯有叛国罪,此人势必要对美国宣战。

Burr was arrested in February, eighteen-oh-seven, and taken to Richmond, Virginia. A federal grand jury hearing would be held to decide if there was enough evidence to bring him to trial. In June, the grand jury officially charged him with treason. Burr would stand trial before John Marshall, chief justice of the United States.

伯尔1807年2月被捕,被押往维吉尼亚的里士满,接受联邦大陪审团的裁决,决定是否有足够证据将伯尔送上法庭。6月,大陪审团正式指控伯尔犯有叛国罪,此案由美国最高法院首席大法官约翰.马歇尔受理。

VOICE TWO:

At one point in court, Burr spoke for himself. "Treason," he said, "is not possible without action. Yet I am being attacked -- not for acts -- but because of false reports about what I might do. The whole country has been turned against me. Is this justice? Wilkinson frightened the president with his reports about me. Then, the president frightened the people."

伯尔在法庭上为自己提出辩白。他说:“没有行动,就不能构成叛国罪,然而我受到攻击,却不是基于行动,而是基于一些错误的报告,说我可能会采取某种行动。整个国家都站在我的对立面,这难道是公正的吗?威尔金森向总统打我的小报告,结果吓住了总统,总统又去吓唬人民。”

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

It was true that President Jefferson wanted to prove Burr guilty. He ordered government officials in all parts of the country to find witnesses who could give evidence against Burr.

杰斐逊一心希望证明伯尔有罪。他下令全国各地的政府官员,要他们寻找一切能够指证伯尔的证人。

Some of Jefferson's opponents said he did this to turn the trial into a political battle. They believed he wanted to use the trial record to attack Chief Justice Marshall, who was a member of the opposition Federalist Party. Jefferson objected to the way Marshall controlled the Supreme Court. He felt Marshall used his position to threaten the powers of the presidency and Congress.

杰斐逊的一些政治反对派说,他这样做是为了把对伯尔的审判变成一场政治斗争。他们相信,杰斐逊是希望把这次审判,作为攻击首席大法官马歇尔的素材。马歇尔是反对党联邦党成员。杰斐逊对马歇尔控制联邦最高法院的做法很反感,觉得马歇尔利用职权,威胁总统和国会的权力。

Chief Justice Marshall knew of Jefferson's part in the accusations against Burr. He was extremely careful and fair in giving his opinions and decisions.

马歇尔知道杰斐逊在伯尔一案中扮演的角色,因此在发表意见和裁定的时候,格外小心。

VOICE TWO:

At the end of August, Chief Justice Marshall stopped taking evidence. He told the court that -- under the Constitution -- a charge of treason must be proved by two witnesses. He said the government's claim had not been proved by even one witness. He ordered the jury to decide the case.

8月底,马歇尔宣布证据收集阶段结束。他告诉法庭说,根据宪法,犯有叛国罪必须有两个证人,但是到目前为止,还没有一个可信的证人。他让大陪审团做出裁决。

On September first, the jury announced its decision. It said: "We of the jury declare that Aaron Burr is not proved guilty by any evidence offered to us. Therefore, we find him not guilty." Burr and his lawyers angrily protested the way the decision had been written. They said it was wrong for the jury to say more than "guilty" or "not guilty." Marshall agreed. He ordered the decision to be changed to read, simply, "not guilty." The trial was over.

大陪审团9月1号做出了决定。裁决书上说,“本陪审团宣布,掌握的证据不能证明艾伦.伯尔有罪,因此我们宣布他无罪。”伯尔和他的律师对裁决书的文字十分不满。他们指出,大陪审团除了“有罪”或“无罪”以外,不应该说那么多废话。首席大法官马歇尔表示认同。他下令大陪审团重写裁决书,上面只要写两个字“无罪”。艾伦.伯尔叛国罪一案终于尘埃落定。

VOICE ONE:

Aaron Burr lived another twenty-nine years. He spent some time in Europe, and then New York City. A few hours before he died, a friend asked if he had ever plotted -- as part of his plan to seize Mexico -- to split the Union of American states. Burr answered: "No! I would as soon have thought of seizing the moon and informing my friends that I would divide it among them."

此后,艾伦.伯尔先后在欧洲和纽约渡过了他后半生29年的时光。临终前,有个朋友问他说,在夺取墨西哥的计划里,是否曾经阴谋分裂美国。伯尔的回答是“没有!我就是想到去夺取月球来分给朋友们,也不会想到去分裂国家。”

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Shirley Griffith and Steve Ember. Join us each week for THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English. Transcripts, podcasts and MP3s of our programs are at www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(2条):
作者:xuding45
Aaron Burr was serviced as the vice president in the nation. He had a secret plan which seized the Mexico. The president Thomas Jefferson decided to trial him. During the trial the people didn't find the proof. At final the Supreme Court judgemented the Burr innocent.
作者:Alumni
i had thougt Aaron Burr, the VP, would be sentenced to prison because of his treason guilt when i came to read the title first. it is just the other way around that he was not guilty. He ,VP, didnt lose his humor by saying: i would as soon have thought of seizing the moon and informing my friends that i woud divide it among them. he said this a few hours before he died when his friends asked if it had been true that he had plotted to split the country.
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