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#89: Slavery Crisis Eases, but Not for Very Long

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

Throughout most of the eighteen fifties, war was a continual threat between the North and the South over the issue of slavery. Then, in the autumn of eighteen fifty-nine, the crisis seemed to calm.

十九世纪五十年代,美国南北双方围绕奴隶制存废问题争议不休,战争阴云一直笼罩在美国上空。1859年秋天,危机似乎出现了缓和。

Anti-slavery extremists governed only a few states of the North. And pro-slavery extremists held power in only a few states of the deep South. There had been elections in most of the northern and southern states. Voters had rejected candidates with extremist ideas and elected moderates instead.

主张废奴的强硬派只控制着北方为数不多的几个州;主张蓄奴的强硬派也只控制着南方腹地的少数几个州。南方和北方的大多数选举都是温和派当选,持极端立场的人并未得到选民的拥护。

The public saw the elections as a sign of hope that reasonable people might find a way to settle the bitter dispute over slavery.

美国公众从选举结果中看到一线希望,期待当选者能理智地化解纠纷。

But these hopes fell apart on October seventeenth, eighteen fifty-nine. That day brought the news that a group of Abolitionists had attacked the town of Harpers Ferry. The town was then part of Virginia; today it is part of West Virginia.

然而,1859年10月17号,希望化为泡影。一小群废奴主义者对哈珀斯费里小镇发动进攻,这个小镇当时属于维吉尼亚,今天是西维吉尼亚州的一部分。

Now, Jack Moyles and Harry Monroe continue our story.

VOICE ONE:

An early photo of John Brown
An early photo of John Brown

The attack was led by John Brown, an old anti-slavery extremist. Many believed him insane. He had gone to Kansas and fought bitterly against pro-slavery forces. Once, to answer an attack on the town of Lawrence, Brown and his men pulled five men and boys from their homes and murdered them.

袭击行动的领袖叫约翰·布朗。布朗是一个反对蓄奴的极端主义者。很多人觉得他是个疯子。他曾经跑到堪萨斯去,跟蓄奴主义者打仗。有一次,为了报复一个叫劳伦斯的小镇受到的攻击,布朗领着一帮人把五个男人从家里拉出来活活打死,其中甚至包括未成年的男孩儿。

The wife of one of the men said Brown told her: "If a man stands between me and what I believe to be right, I will take his life as coolly as I would eat my breakfast."

其中一个受害者的妻子说,布朗告诉她,“如果有人挡在我和我的信仰之间,我就会毫不留情地把他杀死,象吃早饭一样镇定自若。”

Brown lost a son in a pro-slavery attack on his home at Osawatomie, Kansas. Brown and his friends were forced to flee. They watched as the pro-slavery men burned the town.

布朗在堪萨斯的家受到蓄奴主义者的袭击,他的儿子被打死,布朗和他的朋友被迫出逃。他们眼睁睁看着小镇被蓄奴主义者一把火烧光。

Brown shook with grief and anger. "I have only a short time to live," he said, "only one death to die. And I will die fighting for this cause. There will be no more peace in this land until slavery is done for. I will give them something else to do than to extend slave territory. I will carry this war into the South."

布朗悲愤填膺。他说,“我只有短暂的生命,我只能死一回,我一定要为废除奴隶制度而死。除非奴隶制度彻底消失,否则这片土地上永远不会有和平。我要给蓄奴主义者找点别的事情做,让他们没功夫推广奴隶制。我要打到南方去。”

VOICE TWO:

To fight a war against slavery, Brown needed money and guns. He went to Massachusetts and New York. He spoke at town meetings and met privately with Abolitionist leaders.

要打仗就需要枪支和经费。布朗为此前往麻萨诸塞州和纽约州,在市镇大会上发表讲话,并私下里跟废奴主义领袖会面。

In these private talks, Brown said it was too late to settle the slave question through politics or any other peaceful way. He said the only answer was a slave rebellion. It would be bloody, Brown said, and this was terrible. But slavery itself was a terrible wrong -- the same as murder. Only blood, he said, would wash away the wrongs of slavery.

布朗表示,通过政治这类和平手段解决奴隶存废的问题已经为时过晚,现在的唯一出路就是让奴隶奋起反抗。布朗说,奴隶起义是血腥的,可怕的,但是奴隶制度本身就是一个可怕的错误,跟谋杀没有两样。只有鲜血才能洗刷奴隶制度的罪恶。

Brown said God meant for him to begin this rebellion by invading Virginia with a military force he already was organizing. Brown said even if the rebellion failed, it would probably lead to a civil war between North and South. In such a war, he said, the North would break the chains of the black man on the battlefield.

布朗说,上帝要他率兵进攻维吉尼亚,吹响起义的号角,即使起义失败,也会成为南北战争的导火索,北方将在战场上斩断黑人的锁链。

VOICE ONE:

Brown later in life
Brown later in life

Brown won the support of a group of Abolitionist leaders. They formed a secret committee and called themselves the "Secret Six." They agreed to advise Brown and, more importantly, to raise one thousand dollars for him.

布朗得到了一些废奴主义领袖的支持。他们成立了一个秘密委员会,自称“六人秘密小组”。小组成员同意给布朗出谋划策,更重要的是,他们决定帮助布朗筹集一千美元,作为行动经费。

From New England, Brown went to Chatham, Canada. He went there for a secret convention he had called to form a revolutionary government. This government would rule all the slave territory that Brown and his men could capture.

布朗离开新英格兰,前往加拿大查塔姆。他在那里召集了一次秘密大会,商量成立革命政府的事情,这个政府将负责管理布朗夺取的蓄奴区。

Forty-six representatives went to the convention -- thirty-four Negroes and twelve whites. Brown told them of his plan. He said he was sure that southern slaves were ready for rebellion. He said they would rise up at the first sign of a leader who wished to break their chains.

大会共有46名代表参加,包括34个黑人和12个白人。布朗讲了自己的计划,并表示,他敢肯定,南方奴隶奋起反抗的时机已经成熟。他还说,只要有人振臂高呼,就一定会有万众响应。

VOICE TWO:

"But what if troops are brought against you?" one man asked.

会上有人问,如果政府派兵怎么办?

Brown answered that his men would fight in the mountains, where a small force could stop a much larger one. He said his men would be well-trained in mountain fighting. Brown said he expected his small force to grow much larger. He would invite the slaves he freed to join his army. And, he said he thought that all the free Negroes of the North would come to fight slavery with him.

布朗回答说,他会率领部下进入山区作战,凭借地势以少胜多。布朗说,他领导的武装力量会迅速壮大,接受良好的山地作战的训练,他还将吸收奴隶加入自己的队伍,估计北方所有自由的黑人都会响应他的号召,同他并肩作战。

The representatives approved Brown's constitution. And they named him commander-in-chief.

秘密大会代表投票通过了布朗提出的章程,任命他为革命军总司令。

VOICE ONE:

Brown had decided to strike at Harpers Ferry, a town of about twenty-five hundred people. It was in northern Virginia about one hundred kilometers north of Washington. Harpers Ferry was built on a narrow finger of land where the Shenandoah River flowed into the Potomac River. There were two bridges. One crossed the Shenandoah. The other, a railroad bridge, crossed the Potomac to Maryland.

布朗选择哈珀斯费里,一个有大约两千五百名居民的小镇做为攻击目标。哈珀斯费里位于维吉尼亚州北部,在华盛顿以北大约一百公里处,是雪兰多河跟波托马克河汇合的地方,有两座桥梁,一座横跨雪兰多河,另外一座是铁路桥,横跨波托马克河,通往马里兰州。

John Brown chose Harpers Ferry because there was a factory there that made guns for the army. There also was an arsenal where several million dollars worth of military equipment was kept. Brown needed the guns and equipment for the slave army he hoped to form.

布朗选择哈珀斯费里做为攻击目标,是因为那里有一个专门给政府军造枪的工厂,还有一个弹药库,有价值数百万美元的武器装备存放在那里。布朗需要枪支弹药来武装未来的奴隶军。

VOICE TWO:

The farmhouse used by John Brown to plan the raid on Harpers Ferry
The farmhouse used by John Brown to plan the raid on Harpers Ferry

Old Brown arrived at Harpers Ferry early in July, eighteen fifty-nine. Two of his sons, Owen and Oliver, and another man came with him. They rented an old house on a farm in Maryland not far from Harpers Ferry. Brown told people that he was a cattle buyer from New York.

1859年7月初,布朗来到哈珀斯费里,跟他一起来的还有他的两个儿子欧文、奥利佛和另外一名男子。他们在马里兰州距离哈珀斯费里不远的一个农场租了一栋老房子住了下来。布朗自称是纽约来的牛贩子。

Brown's men joined him, one or two at a time, over the next several months. They traveled at night so no one would see them. Once they reached the farm house, they had to stay in hiding.

接下来的几个月里,布朗的手下陆续抵达,他们或是两人结伴,或是孑然一身,往往选择夜间行动,以便掩人耳目,来到农场后,马上躲藏起来。

Week by week, the little force grew. But it grew too slowly. By the end of summer, there were still less than twenty men hiding in the old house.

这样虽然人不知,鬼不觉,但是集结速度缓慢,夏天即将结束的时候,老房子里藏着的还不到20人。

Brown wrote letters to his supporters in the North. He asked for more money and more men. He got little of either. His supporters were afraid. Too many people knew of Brown's plans. The "Secret Six" feared they would face criminal charges if Brown attacked Harpers Ferry.

布朗写信给北方的支持者,要求增加经费和人手,但是二者都没有得到。这是因为布朗在北方的支持者已经开始打退堂鼓了。知道布朗袭击计划的人太多,“六人秘密小组”的成员担心,如果布朗对哈珀斯费里发动袭击,他们会受到刑事起诉。

Brown's men grew tired of the small, crowded rooms of the farm house. Brown knew he must act soon or his young men would begin leaving.

布朗的手下也开始厌倦农场小房子里拥挤不堪、躲躲闪闪的日子。布朗心里明白,他必须立即采取行动,否则的话,这些年轻人就会萌发去意。

VOICE ONE:

On Saturday, October fifteenth, three men arrived to join the group. One of them brought six hundred dollars in gold for Brown's use. Brown saw the gold as a sign that God wanted him to act. He told his men they would strike the next night.

10月15号星期六,又有三个人来到农场。其中一个人还带来价值600多美元的黄金。布朗觉得,这是一个征兆,上帝是在暗示他,可以采取行动了。他告诉手下,第二天晚上动手。

Brown held religious services Sunday morning and prayed for God to help him free the slaves. Then he called his men around him to explain to them his battle plan.

第二天是星期天。布朗星期天早上向上帝祷告,恳求上帝保佑他解放奴隶。祷告完毕,布朗把手下叫到一块儿,向他们解释行动计划。

They would seize the two bridges at Harpers Ferry and close them. Next, they would capture the armory and the rifle factory. They would capture as many people as possible. They would use the people as hostages for protection against any soldiers that might be sent against them.

首先,他们要夺取哈珀斯费里的两座桥梁,然后占领枪械厂和弹药库,能抓多少人就抓多少人,政府军一旦出动,就用这些人质来保护自己。

VOICE TWO:

The army had no men near Harpers Ferry. Brown believed he would have all the time he needed. He believed his only opposition might be local groups of militia. He did not fear these civilian soldiers.

当时,政府在哈珀斯费里附近没有驻军,布朗觉得自己有足够时间,唯一的障碍是当地的民兵,他觉得对付这些民兵,不费吹灰之力。

The old man thought he and his men could hold Harpers Ferry until slaves in the area rebelled and joined them. Brown knew that Maryland and western Virginia were full of people opposed to slavery. He expected many of them to come to his aid.

布朗认为,他可以控制住哈珀斯费里,等待周边奴隶奋起反抗,加入他们的阵营。布朗知道,马里兰和维吉尼亚西部有很多反对奴隶制度的人,他估计很多人会来支援他。

The twenty-two men rested until dark, listening to rain hit the roof of the farm house.

这22个人养精蓄锐,听着房顶上滴答滴答的雨声,等到夜幕降临。

VOICE ONE:

A photograph of Harpers Ferry from the Civil War period
A photograph of Harpers Ferry from the Civil War period

About eight o'clock, Brown called his group. "Men," he said, "get your weapons. We are going to the Ferry."

晚上八点前后,布朗说,“大家拿好武器,出发。”

A wagon was brought out and a horse tied to it. In the wagon were a few tools and some extra guns. Brown climbed into the wagon and started it toward town. Two of his men stepped out in front of the wagon, leading the way. The others walked behind.

门口有一辆马车,车上装着一些工具和枪支。布朗亲自驾车,两个人在前面开路,其它人跟在后面,一群人直奔哈珀斯费里镇。

It was a dark and cold night. A light rain was falling. There was no one else on the road. After a time, they reached the high ground above the Potomac. Below them, across the river, lay the town of Harpers Ferry. Most of the town was sleeping. Only a few lights shone through the rain.

那是一个黑暗寒冷的夜晚,天上下着小雨,路上一个人也没有。布朗一行来到俯瞰波托马克河的一片高地,下面就是沉睡中的哈珀斯费里镇,只有星星点点的灯火闪烁。

John Brown was ready for his final struggle against slavery.

布朗准备动手了。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Jack Moyles and Harry Monroe. Transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and archives of our programs are online, 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 #89 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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