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#45: Madison Declares War on Britain in 1812

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ANNOUNCER:

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

In the spring of eighteen twelve, the United States and Britain were moving closer to war. Congress had approved a ninety-day embargo to stop American ships from leaving home. And American ships in foreign ports and at sea were ordered to return to the United States. President James Madison requested the embargo to prevent the capture of these ships once a war started.

1812年春天,英、美两国间,战火一触即发。美国国会批准了一项九十天的禁运令,禁止美国船只出海,已经出海和停泊在外国港口的美国船只也被勒令返航。詹姆斯.麦迪逊总统这样做,是为了保证战争爆发后,美国船只不被扣押。

James Madison
James Madison

Today, Maurice Joyce and Stuart Spencer begin the story of the War of Eighteen Twelve.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The president was sure there would be war. He had seen the instructions from London to British minister Augustus Foster. The British foreign minister warned Foster to say nothing about any compromise. He wanted the United States to see how firmly Britain would continue its orders against neutral trade with the enemies of Britain.

麦迪逊总统认为,战争一定会爆发。他知道,伦敦向英国使节奥古斯塔斯.福斯特下达了指令。英国外交大臣警告福斯特,不要擅自做出任何妥协。他希望美国明白,英国不允许美国以中立身份跟英国的敌人做生意,这种政策会坚持到底。

VOICE TWO:

President Madison had hoped for some sign of compromise. But there was none. Congress continued to prepare the nation for war. Lawmakers voted to increase the size of the army and to borrow money to pay for things the larger army would need.

麦迪逊总统希望看到妥协的迹象,但是丝毫没有。与此同时,国会继续积极备战。议员们投票决定扩大陆军规模,借钱以满足军费的增加。

But not all members of Congress wanted war with Britain. Many Federalists, especially, opposed it. Some of them tried to end the embargo only a month after it began.

不过,国会成员并不全都主战,尤其是联邦党人。禁运令生效一个月后,就遭到了很多人的抵制。

Congressman Hermanus Bleecker showed the House a list of hundreds of names from his area of New York. He said all these people opposed the embargo and the idea of war with Britain. "It is impossible," he said, "that we can go to war when the embargo ends, sixty days from now. Where are our armies? Our navy? Have we the money to fight a war? Why, it would be treason to go to war this soon, so poorly prepared."

国会众议员赫曼努斯.布利克向众议院递交了一份数百人的名单,都是他所在的纽约地区的选民。他说,名单上的人都反对禁运,反对跟英国开战。他提出,“禁运令六十天后结束时,我们根本不可能开战,我们的陆军在哪里?海军又在哪里?我们有钱打仗吗?在准备如此欠缺的情况下,这么快就决定去打仗,简直就是叛国。”

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin

Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin was having a difficult time finding money to borrow. He could get almost no money at all from Federalist New England banks. Congress had approved borrowing eleven million dollars. But Gallatin found the banks would lend only six million to the United States government.

美国财政部长阿尔伯特.加勒廷在筹集资金的问题上一愁莫展。他从联邦党人的新英格兰银行几乎借不到一分钱。国会虽然批准,可以贷款1100万美元,但是加勒廷发现,从银行里只能借到600万。

The Federalists charged that Gallatin's difficulties showed the people did not want war, especially the people of New England. If the people of the West and the South wanted to fight, then let them pay for the war.

联邦党人指出,这恰恰说明大家不愿意打仗,特别是新英格兰的民众。如果西部的人和南方人愿意打仗的话,那就让他们出钱好了。

Republican John Randolph also spoke against the war. "How could the administration speak of war when it did not even have the courage to order taxes to raise money? Are we to go to war without money, without men, without a navy? The people will not believe it."

共和党人约翰.伦道夫也反对战争。他提出,“政府如果连通过增税集资的勇气都没有,还谈什么打仗呢?我们难道要在没有军费、没有士兵、没有海军的情况下开战吗?人民无法相信。”

John C. Calhoun answered Randolph. "So far from being unprepared, sir, I believe that four weeks from the time war is declared, we will have captured much of British Canada."

约翰.卡尔霍恩回答说,“恰恰相反,我们绝不是毫无准备,我相信,开战四个星期内,我们就能占领加拿大的大部分地区。”

VOICE TWO:

Sure that Britain would not change its hostile policies, President Madison sent a secret message to Congress on June first, proposing that war be declared. Madison listed the reasons for war:

麦迪逊总统坚信,英国不会改变对美国的敌对政策。他于6月1号捎给国会一份密信,建议对英宣战。麦迪逊提出的宣战理由是:

British warships had violated the American flag at sea. The British navy had seized and carried off persons protected by this flag. British warships also violated United States waters, interfering with American ships as they entered and left port. Another reason, he said, was Britain's orders against trade with France or allies of France. International law, he said, gave Britain no right to make such orders.

英国战舰在海上侵犯了美国国旗的尊严、英国海军扣押并强行带走受美国国旗保护的人、英国战舰还侵犯美国水域,干涉美国船只进出海港、还有一个原因是,英国禁止美国跟法国及其盟国的商业往来。麦迪逊说,根据国际法的规定,英国无权这样做。

Madison also spoke of the hostile Indians of the northwest territory, and seemed to charge British Canada with helping the Indians.

麦迪逊还提到了美国西北部印第安人的反抗,话里话外指责加拿大的英国势力是印第安人的后台。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The Battle of Queenston Heights was a British victory during the War of 1812
The Battle of Queenston Heights was a British victory during the War of 1812

The president's message was sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House for discussion. The committee's report was made two days later by chairman John C. Calhoun. He proposed that the House declare war.

麦迪逊主张对英宣战。麦迪逊致密函给国会众议院外交事务委员会,要求他们展开讨论。该委员会主席约翰.卡尔霍恩两天后提交报告,建议众议院支持宣战。

The House, meeting in secret, heard the report. Federalist Josiah Quincy proposed that the debate should be made public. This proposal was defeated. The final vote on declaring war was seventy-nine for and forty-nine against. In the Senate, the vote was even closer: nineteen for and thirteen against.

众议院秘密召集会议,听取报告。联邦党人乔赛亚.昆西建议将辩论公诸于众,但是遭到了反对。美国国会投票表决,众议院79票赞成49票反对;参议院19票赞成,13票反对。

President Madison signed the bill on June eighteenth. The War of 1812 had begun.

麦迪逊总统6月18号签署法案,1812年战争拉开了战幕。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The leaders in Washington did not know it, but Britain -- two days earlier -- had ended its orders against neutral American trade. The orders might have been withdrawn earlier, except for a number of events.

其实,就在美国宣战的两天前,英国已经结束了对美国中立贸易的禁令。禁令的取消原本会更早,但是因为一系列突发事件,被耽误了。

British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, under great political pressure, had decided to end the British orders on neutral trade. Businessmen and traders were loudly protesting that the orders were destroying England's economy. On May eleventh, before Perceval could act, he was shot to death. Not until June eighth was agreement reached on a new prime minister, Lord Liverpool.

当时,英国商界大声疾呼,要求取消对美国的贸易禁令。他们指出,贸易禁令正在摧毁英国经济。英国首相斯潘瑟.帕西瓦尔在巨大的政治压力下,决定取消禁令,但是还没来得及宣布,就于5月11号遭到了暗杀。新首相人选直到6月8号才敲定,由利物浦勋爵担任。

Eight days later, his government announced that the orders were ended immediately. This was only two days before war was to be declared in Washington. And, with ships the only method of communication, the British action was not learned of in time.

利物浦勋爵走马上任后的第八天,英国政府宣布立即取消贸易禁令,但是因为当时的通讯完全依靠船只,所以英国政府的决定没有传到美国。两天后,美国宣战了。

VOICE ONE:

If the United States had had a minister in London during the spring of eighteen twelve, he would have been able to report progress toward ending the orders. But the American minister, William Pinkney, had returned home a year earlier.

如果1812年,伦敦设有美国使节的话,他肯定会将取消贸易禁令的消息及时报告回去,但是美国驻英大使平克尼早在一年前就返回了美国。

On the day that war was declared, the United States was far from ready to fight. There were only about eight thousand American soldiers. And most of them were serving in the West. The United States had only a few warships and gunboats with which to face the British navy -- the most powerful naval force in the world.

美国虽然宣战,但是完全没有做好打仗的准备。当时,美国只有大约八千名士兵,大多数都在西部执行任务。海上作战能力仅限于屈指可数的几艘战舰,而英国却拥有世界上最强大的海军。

Worst of all was the division among the people of the United States about the war. It was strongly opposed in the Northeast. Church bells were rung and flags lowered in New England when the declaration of war was announced. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut refused to let their state soldiers follow the orders of the national government.

最糟糕的是,美国人民对战争存在意见分歧。东北地区坚决反对战争。宣战的时候,新英格兰教堂鸣钟,降旗;麻萨诸塞、罗德岛和康涅迪克州拒绝让本州士兵听从联邦政府的指挥。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The United States could not have lasted long against the military power of Britain had it not been for the war in Europe. Most of Britain's forces were battling the soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte. Britain could send only small forces to fight the Americans.

如果不是英法战争,美国面对英国强大的军事实力,根本没有希望。然而,当时英国全力以赴对付拿破仑,只能派遣很少的部队跟美国周旋。

The United States tried to increase the size of its army. But the United States had not fought a war, or needed an army, for a long time.

美国虽然努力扩大军队规模,但是多年来,美国一直不需要军队的存在。

The officers who led troops in the Revolutionary War were old men, and tired. The young men had never fought and knew little about the ways of war. Two top generals were named by President Madison: sixty-two-year-old Henry Dearborn, and Thomas Pinckney, sixty-three. Most of the other generals were almost as old.

如今,参加过独立战争的人都已经年老体衰,年轻人又对战争一窍不通。麦迪逊总统任命了62岁的亨利.迪尔伯恩和63岁的托马斯.平克尼担任最高指挥官,其他将领的年龄也都跟他们不相上下。

There also was the problem of getting enough men to serve as soldiers. Congress had approved an increase of twenty-five thousand men. Only five thousand agreed to serve. Members of Congress from the western states had spoken proudly of how their people would rush to fight the British. This did not happen. The first request to Kentucky for soldiers produced only four hundred men.

战争的兵源也出现了问题。美国国会投票,批准增加两万五千名士兵,但是只有五千人愿意参军。西部各州的国会议员曾经骄傲地说,西部居民会争先恐后地打击英军,但是这种情况并没有发生。肯塔基州第一次征兵,只有四百人报名。

VOICE ONE:

The United States decided the first attacks should be made against Canada. There were only about twenty-five hundred British soldiers guarding the border between the United States and Canada. Four campaigns were planned. The first of these was led by an old Revolutionary War soldier, General William Hull.

美国决定,首先进攻加拿大,因为美加边境上只驻扎着两千五百名英军士兵。美军策划了四场战役,首战由参加过独立战争的威廉.赫尔将军指挥。

General Hull and his two thousand men were ordered to march from southern Ohio to the city of Detroit, in the Michigan territory. They had completed the three hundred kilometer march before war was declared. Hull was given immediate orders to invade Canada.

赫尔率领两千人从俄亥俄州南部出发,行军三百公里,在美国宣战前抵达密西根州的底特律。赫尔奉命,立即入侵加拿大。

The old general crossed the border and attacked the British at Malden. But the British general there was prepared, and the attack failed. Hull retreated back to Detroit. He was chased by a smaller force of British soldiers and Indians.

赫尔率兵跨过边境,在莫尔登对英军发起进攻。但是英军早有防备,一举击退了赫尔。赫尔撤回底特律,后面还跟着一小批英军和印第安人的追兵。

Although Hull had the stronger force and plenty of supplies, he surrendered Detroit to the British. After the war, Hull was tried by a military court on charges of cowardice. The court found him guilty and ordered him shot. The president, because of Hull's service during the Revolutionary War, permitted the old soldier to live.

虽然赫尔的兵力和供给都很充沛,但还是没能守住底特律。战争结束后,赫尔因为懦弱,接受军事法庭的裁决,最后罪名成立,被判死刑。麦迪逊看在赫尔参加过独立战争的份上,决定免他一死。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Maurice Joyce and Stuart Spencer. Join us each week for THEMAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English.

网友的学习评论(2条):
作者:xuding45
Madison declared war on Britain in 1812. Athough they had not enough preparation, the president order his soldiers to attack Canada. The battle was defeated by Britain and the commander lost Detroit.
作者:Alumni
at that time the American military force was weak because of no war almost fifty years after the Independence war. Fortunatly, the British was in the war with French, so they coudn't concentrate their whole power to fight America. it was lucky to America.
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