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#77: The South Asks for Justice, Simple Justice

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

During the first half of the nineteenth century, leaders of the United States could find no answer to the question of slavery. The dispute grew more threatening after the war with Mexico in eighteen forty-nine.

十九世纪上半叶,美国政治领袖在蓄奴还是废奴问题上寻找答案。1849年美墨战争结束后,这一争议引起的威胁日益加深。

Northern states refused to permit slavery in the new territories of California and New Mexico. Southern states declared that they had a constitutional right to bring slaves into the new lands. The South was ready to secede -- leave and break up the Union of states.

北方州拒绝让奴隶进入新增领土加利福尼亚和新墨西哥。南方州则宣称,根据宪法,他们有权把奴隶带来那里去。南方威胁说,如果无法解决纠纷,就会脱离联邦,让国家分裂。

Then, in eighteen fifty, Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky offered a compromise to avoid secession, and a likely war between the North and the South. He said the Union was permanent and created for all future Americans. He attacked the South's claim that it had the right to leave. He warned that the war which would follow southern secession would be long and bloody.

关键时刻,肯塔基州的联邦参议员亨利·克莱挺身而出。克莱1850年提出了一项妥协方案,努力避免国家分裂和内战的爆发。克莱说,美国联邦是永久的,是为子孙后代建立的。他指责南方无权脱离联邦,并警告说,如果南方脱离联邦,势必会爆发一场持久和伤亡惨重的战争。

This week in our series, Jack Moyles and Lew Roland continue the story of the Compromise of Eighteen Fifty.

General Zachary Taylor
General Zachary Taylor

VOICE ONE:

Extremists on both sides opposed Clay's compromise proposals. So did President Taylor. The president had hoped that Webster, Clay, and other Whig Party leaders would support his own limited plan of statehood for California. The president's feelings were hurt when none of the party leaders thought that his idea was important.

克莱的妥协方案遭到了南北双方极端势力和总统泰勒的反对。泰勒原本希望韦伯斯特参议员、克莱参议员和其他辉格党领袖支持他所提出的让加利福尼亚成为美国一个州的计划,但是没有人理会他的提议,让他的自尊心深受伤害。

The president's chief adviser, Senator Seward of New York, was also against Clay's proposals. Seward strongly opposed slavery and did not believe it was right to compromise on it.

泰勒总统的首席顾问,纽约州联邦参议员苏厄德也反对克莱的提案。苏厄德坚决反对蓄奴,认为不应该在这个问题上做出任何妥协。

One week after Clay spoke, Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi explained his position. He did not say much about Clay's proposed compromise. Davis was sure that no good would result from it, not even from stronger laws on the return of escaped slaves. He said these laws would not be enforced in states where people opposed slavery.

克莱讲话一周后,密西西比州的联邦参议员杰斐逊·戴维斯阐明了自己的立场。他没有过多谈及克莱的妥协方案。戴维斯坚信,这一方案对南方没有多少好处,即便是加强遣返逃亡奴隶的法律,因为这样的法律在自由州很难得到落实。

VOICE TWO:

Senator Davis said that what was needed was a change in the North's policy toward the South. He said the North must recognize the rights of southerners, especially the right to take slave property into territories of the United States.

戴维斯参议员说,真正需要的,是北方改变对南方的政策。他说,北方必需承认南方的权利,尤其是南方人让自己的奴隶进入美国领地的权利。

Davis said Congress had no right to destroy or limit this right. He admitted that the old Missouri compromise of eighteen twenty had limited the right to take slaves into the territories. He said the eighteen twenty compromise worked -- not because Congress passed it -- but because the states agreed to it.

戴维斯说,国会无权取消或是限制这种权利。他承认,1820年密苏里协定对新增领土上蓄奴的权利设立了限制,但表示,1820年密苏里协定奏效,不是因为国会的批准,而是因为各州的接受。

Senator Davis said the North was responsible for the growing split, because the North was trying to get complete control of the South. He said if these efforts were not stopped, the North some day would be powerful enough to change the Constitution and end slavery everywhere. Davis warned that the South would never accept this.

戴维斯参议员说,国家日益分裂是北方的责任,因为他们试图彻底控制南方。他说,如果不制止这种发展趋势的话,有朝一日,北方的势力就会强大到改变宪法,彻底取消奴隶制度。戴维斯警告说,这是南方绝对不会接受的。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

John Calhoun
John Calhoun

Three weeks later, the Senate heard another southern leader, Senator John C. Calhoun. For years, Calhoun was the voice of the South. He now was sixty-eight years old and a sick man. He would die within a month. Calhoun had been too ill to hear Clay's speech. He spent the last week in February writing what he believed to be the true position of the South.

三个星期后,另外一位南方领袖,南卡罗来纳州的联邦参议员卡尔霍恩在参议院发表讲话。多年来,卡尔霍恩一直是南方利益的代言人。当时,卡尔霍恩已经68岁,患有重病。

On Sunday, March third, it was announced that Calhoun would speak in the Senate the next day. Most understood that it would be his last speech. The Senate was crowded when Calhoun entered.

One by one, friends came up to speak to him. The old man's long, gray hair fell to his shoulders. His face was thin and white. But his eyes were bright and his jaw firm. Calhoun was too weak to read his speech. He asked Senator Mason to read it for him.

VOICE TWO:

Calhoun said that for a long time he had believed that the dispute over slavery -- if not settled -- would end in disunion. Calhoun said it was clear now to everyone that the Union was breaking apart, that the ties that had held the North and South together were breaking, one by one.

Three churches, once united across the nation, now were split between North and South. The two major political parties, he declared, were divided in the same way. Calhoun said the North was responsible for all this, because it had destroyed the political balance between the two parts of the country.

As the population of the North had grown large, he noted, that part of the country had seized political and economic control. The North had passed tariff bills that the South opposed. It had filled most of the offices in the federal government. It closed the new territories to southern slaveholders. And, said Calhoun, it had viciously attacked the southern institution of slavery.

VOICE ONE:

The situation was so bad, Calhoun said, that the South could not -- with honor and safety -- remain in the Union. "How can the Union be saved?" he asked. "Not by the compromise proposed by the senator from Kentucky. There is but one way. A full and final settlement, with justice, of all the questions disputed by the two sections.

"The South asks for justice, simple justice, and less she ought not to take. She has no compromise to offer but the Constitution, and no concession or surrender to make. She has already surrendered so much that she has little left to surrender."

Then Calhoun listed the things the North must do to satisfy the South. He said it must give the South an equal right in the new territories of the West. It must make people obey the laws on the return of runaway slaves. It must agree to an amendment to the constitution that would return political balance to North and South. And it must stop the attacks against slavery.

If all these things were not done, Calhoun said, then it would be better to separate, to part in peace. But if the North refused a peaceful separation, then the South would be faced with the choice of surrender or fight. "The South will know what to do," said Calhoun.

VOICE TWO:

When Calhoun finished his speech to the Senate, southern lawmakers crowded around the old man, congratulating him. But many of them could not agree with his extreme demands and the violence of his words. His appeal was too late. Most southerners believed that Clay's proposals were a reasonable way to settle the difference and protect the union.

Clay was worried that his compromise might be defeated by northern votes. Many in the North felt slavery was wrong. They opposed the compromise, because it might permit slavery in the New Mexico territory, and because it called for stronger laws on the return of slaves who had escaped to the North.

但是克莱担心,他的妥协提案会受到北方的抵制。很多北方人都觉得,奴隶制是错误的。他们反对妥协,因为妥协可能会让新墨西哥成为蓄奴地区,也因为妥协要求加强对逃亡奴隶的遣返。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Eight days before he first proposed the compromise, Clay visited Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. A friend of Webster's described the meeting in these words: "Mister Clay came to Mister Webster's house and had a long talk with him about the best way to settle the difficulties growing out of slavery and the new territories. I heard part of their conversation."

克莱向参议院提出妥协方案的八天前,曾去拜访麻萨诸塞州联邦参议员丹尼尔·韦伯斯特。韦伯斯特的一位朋友记录了俩人的会面。他是这样写的:“克莱先生到韦伯斯特先生家拜访,俩人就蓄奴和新增领土引起的问题的最佳解决方式进行了长谈,我听到了谈话的部分内容。”

"Mister Clay left after about an hour. Mister Webster called me to his side and spoke to me of Mister Clay in words of great kindness. He said he agreed generally with Mister Clay, that he thought Mister Clay's purpose was great and highly patriotic."

他说,“克莱大约一小时后离开。韦伯斯特把我叫到身边,对克莱赞誉有加,说他大致同意克莱的看法,觉得克莱的目的崇高,爱国。”

"He said Mister Clay seemed to be very weak and had a very bad cough, that he was sure Mister Clay wanted to do something for the good of his country during the little time he had left on Earth. Mister Webster said further that he thought Mister Clay's plan was one that should be satisfactory to the North and to the reasonable men of the South. He said he believed that he could support all of it and would work for its approval in the Senate."

他说克莱看上去十分虚弱,咳嗽得很厉害,克莱肯定是想在自己的最后一段时间里为国家做点贡献。他还说,“韦伯斯特进一步表示,他觉得克莱的计划应该能被北方人和南方的有识之士所接受。他表示,他会支持克莱的提案,推动提案在参议院里获得通过。”

VOICE TWO:

Webster planned to speak in support of Clay's proposal. But he would wait until the best time for declaring it. He decided to make it on March seventh, just three days after Calhoun's speech was read to the Senate. Webster was sixty-eight years old, as old as Calhoun. His voice was weaker now. But his words rang with the same strength as years earlier.

韦伯斯特计划公开支持克莱的提案,但是一直在等待最佳时机。3月7号,也就是卡尔霍恩在参议院发表讲话的三天后,韦伯斯特终于站了出来。韦伯斯特跟卡尔霍恩一样,也是68岁,虽然声音很弱,但是讲话掷地有声,份量不减当年。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our story of the Compromise of Eighteen Fifty continues next week. Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Jack Moyles and Lew Roland.

Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our series can be found, along with historical images, at www.unsv.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #77 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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