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世界上最伟大的名人演讲 Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death 不自由,毋宁死

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2016年06月07日

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Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the veryworthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speakforth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whateveranguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we haveprostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; ourremonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, areinvincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to thevigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

不自由,毋宁死

在弗吉尼亚州议会上的演讲

(美国)亨利1775年3月23日

主席先生:

没有人比我更钦佩刚刚在会议上发言的先生们的爱国精神与见识才能。但是,人们常常从不同的角度来观察同一事物。因此,尽管我的观点与他们截然不同,我还是要毫无顾忌、毫无保留地讲出自己的观点,并希望不要因此而被认为是对先生们的不敬。此时不是讲客气话的时候,摆在各位代表面前的是国家存亡的大问题,我认为,这是关系到享受自由还是蒙受奴役的大问题。鉴于它事关重大,我们的辩论应该允许各抒己见。只有这样,我们才有可能搞清事物的真相,才有可能不辱于上帝和祖国所赋予我们的伟大使命。在这种时刻,如果怕冒犯各位的尊严而缄口不语,我将认为自己是对祖国的背叛和对此世界上任何国君都更为神圣的上帝的不忠。

主席先生,沉湎于希望的幻觉是人的天性。我们有闭目不愿正视痛苦现实的倾向,有倾听女海妖的惑人歌声的倾向,可那是能将人化为禽兽的惑人的歌声。这难道是在这场为获得自由而从事的艰苦卓绝的斗争中,一个聪明人所应持的态度吗?难道我们愿意做那种对这关系到是否蒙受奴役的大问题视而不见充耳不闻的人吗?就我个人而论,无论在精神上承受任何痛苦,我也愿意知道真理,知道最坏的情况,并为之做好一切准备。

我只有一盏指路明灯,那就是经验之灯,除了以往的经验以外,我不知道还有什么更好的方法来判断未来。而即要以过去的经验为依据,我倒希望知道,10年来英国政府的所作所为中有哪一点足以证明先生们用以欣然安慰自己及各位代表的和平希望呢?难道就是最近接受我们请愿时所流露出的阴险微笑吗?不要相信它,先生,那是在您脚下挖的陷阱。不要让人家的亲吻把您给出卖了。请诸位自问,接受我们请愿时的和善微笑与这如此大规模的海、陆战争准备是否相称。难道舰艇和军队是对我们的爱护和战争调停的必要手段吗?难道为了解决争端,赢得自己的爱而诉诸武力,我们就应该表现出如此的不情愿吗?我们不要自己欺骗自己了,先生,这些都是战争和征服的工具,是国君采取的最后争执手段。主席先生,我要向主张和解的先生请教,这些战争部署究竟意味着什么?如果说其目的不在于迫使我们屈服的话,那么哪位先生能指出其动机所在?在我们这块土地上,还有哪些对手值得大不列颠征集如此规模的海陆军队吗?不,先生,没有其他对手了。一切都是针对我们而来,而不是针对别人。英国政府如此长久地锻造出的锁链要来桎梏我们了,我们该何以抵抗?还要靠辩论吗?先生,我们已经辩论10年了,可辩论出什么更好的抵御措施了吗?没有。我们已从各种角度考虑过了,但一切均是枉然。难道我们还要求救于哀告与祈求吗?难道我们还有什么更好方法未被采用吗?勿需寻找了,先生,我恳求您,千万不要自己欺骗自己了。我们已经做了应该做的一切,来阻止这场即已来临的战争风暴。我们请愿过了,我们抗议过了,我们哀求过了,我们也曾拜倒在英国王的宝座下,恳求他出面干预,制裁国会和内阁中的残暴者。可我们的请愿受到轻侮,我们的抗议招致了新的暴力,我们的哀求被人家置之不理,我们被人家轻蔑地一脚从御座前踢开了。事到如今,我们再也不能沉迷于虚无缥缈的和平希望之中了。希望已不能存在!假如我们想得到自由,并拯救我们为之长期奋斗的珍贵权力的话;假如我们不愿彻底放弃我们长期所从事的,曾经发誓不取得最后的胜利而决不放弃的光荣斗争的话,那么,我们必须战斗!我再重复一遍,必须战斗!我们的唯一出路只有诉诸武力,求助于战争之神。

主席先生,他们说我们的力量太单薄了,不能与如此强大凶猛的敌人抗衡。但是,我们何时才能强大起来呢?是下周?还是明年?还是等到我们完全被缴械,家家户户都驻守着英国士兵的时候呢?难道我们就这样仰面高卧,紧抱着那虚无缥缈的和平幻觉不放,直到敌人把我们的手脚都束缚起来的时候,才能获得有效的防御手段吗?先生们,如果我们能妥善利用自然之神赐予我们的有利条件,我们就不弱小。如果我们三百万人民在自己的国土上,为神圣的自由事业而武装起来,那么任何敌人都是无法战胜我们的。此外,先生们,我们并非孤军作战,主宰各民族命运的正义之神,会号召朋友们为我们而战。先生们,战争的胜负不仅仅取决于力量的强弱,胜利永远属于那些机警的、主动的、勇敢的人们。况且,我们已没有选择余地了。即使我们那样没有骨气,想退出这场战争,也为时晚矣!我们已毫无退路,除非甘愿受屈辱和奴役!囚禁我们的锁链已经铸就,波士顿草原上已经响起镣铐的叮当响声。战争已不可避免--那么就让它来吧!我再重复一遍,就让它来吧!

回避现实是毫无用处的。先生们会高喊:和平!和平!但和平安在?实际上,战争已经开始,从北方刮来的大风都会将武器的铿锵回响送进我们的耳鼓。我们的同胞已身在疆场了,我们为什么还要站在这袖手旁观呢?先生们希望的是什么?想要达到什么目的?生命就那么可贵?和平就那么甜美!甚至不惜以戴锁链、受奴役的代价来换取吗?全能的上帝啊,阻止这一切吧!在这场斗争中,我不知道别人会如何行事,至于我,不自由,毋宁死!

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