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罗伯特·沃尔波尔爵士 论撤职动议

2006-07-07 17:22

Sir Robert Walpole

ON A MOTION FOR HIS REMOVAL

1741

  It has been observed by several gentlemen,in vindication of this motion,that if it should be carried,neither my life,liberty,nor estate will be affect-ed.But do the honorable gentlemen consider my character and reputation as of no moment?Is it no imputation to be arraigned before this House,in which I have sat forty years,and to have my name transmitted to posterity with disgrace and infamy?I will not conceal my sentiments,that to be named in Parliament as a subject of inquiry is to me a matter of great concern.But I have the satisfaction,at the same time,to reflect,that the impression to be made depends upon the consistency of the charge and the motives of the prosecutors.

  If my whole administration is to be scrutinized and arraigned,why are the most favorable parts to be omitted?If facts are to be accumulated on one side,why not on the other?And why may not I be permitted to speak in my own favor?Was I not called by the voice of the King and the nation to remedy the fatal effects of the South Sea project,and to support declining credit?Was I not placed at the head of the treasury when the revenues were in the greatest confusion?Is credit revived,and does it now flourish?Is it not at an incredible height?and if so,to whom must that circumstance be attributed?Has not tranquility been preserved both at home and abroad,notwithstanding a most un-reasonable and violent opposition?Has the true interest of the nation been pursued,or has trade flourished?Have gentlemen produced one instance of this exorbitant power;of the influence which I extend to all parts of the nation;of the tyranny with which I oppress those who oppose,and the liberality with which I reward those who support me?But having first invested me with a kind of mock dignity,and styled me a prime minister,they impute to me an unpardonable abuse of that chimerical authority which they only have created and conferred.If they are really persuaded that the army is annually established by me,that I will have the sole disposal of posts and honors,that I employ this power in the destruction of liberty and the diminution of commerce,let me awaken them from their delusion.Let me expose to their view the real condition of the public weal.Let me show them that the Crown has made no encroachments,that all supplies have been granted by Parliament,that all questions have been debated with the same freedom as before the fatal period in which my counsels are said to have gained the ascendancy an ascendancy from which they deduce the loss of trade,the approach of slavery,the preponderance of prerogative,and the extension of influence.But I am far from believing that they feel those apprehensions which they so earnestly labor to communicate to others;and I have too high an opinion of their sagacity not to conclude that,even in their own judgment,they are complaining of grievances that they do not suffer,and promoting rather their private interest than that of the public.

  What is this unbounded sole power which is imputed to me?How has it discovered itself,or how has it been proved?

  What have been the effects of the corruption,ambition,and avarice with which I am so abundantly charged?

  Have I ever been suspected of being corrupt-ed?A strange phenomenon,a corrupter himself not corrupt!Is ambition imputed to me?Why then do I still continue a commoner?I,who refused a white staff and a peerage?I had,indeed,like to have forgotten the little ornament about my shoulders[the garter],which gentlemen have so repeatedly mentioned in terms of sarcastic obloquy.But surely,though this may be regarded with envy or indignation in another place,it cannot be supposed to raise any resentment in this House,where many may be pleased to see those honors which their ancestors have worn,restored again to the Commons.

  Have I given any symptoms of an avaricious disposition?Have I obtained any grants from the Crown since I have been placed at the head of the treasury?Has my conduct been different from that which others in the same station would have followed?Have I acted wrong in giving the place of auditor to my son,and in providing for my own family?I trust that their advancement will not be imputed to me as a crime,unless it shall be proved that I placed them in offices of trust and responsibility for which they were unfit.

  But while I unequivocally deny that I am sole and prime minister,and that to my influence and direction all the measures of the Government must be attributed,yet I will not shrink from the responsibility which attaches to the post I have the honor to hold;and should,during the long period in which I have sat upon this bench,any one step taken by Government be proved to be either disgraceful or disadvantageous to the nation,I am ready to hold myself accountable.

  To conclude,sir,though I shall always be proud of the honor of any trust or confidence from His Majesty,yet I shall always be ready to remove from his councils and presence when he thinks fit;and therefore I should think myself very little concerned in the event of the present question,if it were not for the encroachment that will thereby be made upon the prerogatives of the Crown.But I must think that an address to His Majesty to remove one of his servants,without so much as alleging any particular crime against him,is one of the greatest encroachments that was ever made upon the prerogatives of the Crown.And therefore,for the sake of my master,without any regard for my own,I hope all those who have a due regard for our constitution,and for the rights and prerogatives of the Crown,without which our constitution cannot be preserved,will be against this motion.

罗伯特·沃尔波尔爵士

论撤职动议

1741年

  有些支持撤职动议的议员说,如执行动议,我的生活、行动自由和庄园都不会受到影响。但是可敬的议员们是否认为我的人格和声誉是无足轻重的?这不是在这个我任议员已达40年的下院面前以某种罪名对我进行指责,把令我丢脸的恶名留给子孙后代吗?我不想掩饰自己的愤慨,在议会被提名为调查的对象,对我来说是很值得计较的问题。但同时我很高兴还能表明自己的意见:将要形成的印象取决于起诉人的指控和动机的一致性。

  如果是对我一生的政绩进行审查和提出疑问,那为什么要把其中最值得赞许的部分略而不谈呢?为什么列举一方面的事实,而另一方面的事实又避而不谈呢?为什么不允许我说出对自己有利的话呢?难道我不是受国王和国家之命去纠正南海工程的严重后果,并支持那日益下降的信誉的吗?难道我不是在税收陷入极大混乱之际受命兼任财政大臣的吗?财政不是已经复苏而欣欣向荣了吗?不是已经达到难以置信的高度了吗?如果情况确实如此,那功劳又归于谁呢?尽管遇到荒唐的、强烈的反对,现在国内外不都保持着稳定吗?国家的真正利益不是已得到维护,贸易不也正欣欣向荣吗?议员先生们能拿出实例来证明我滥用权力,把权力扩展到全国,对反对我的人实行专政而对拥护我的人滥给奖赏吗?他们先是给予我一种虚假的尊严,称我为首相,然后将莫须有的、不可饶恕的无端指责归罪于我。他们若真的相信军队年年由我建立,唯我能任免和给予荣誉,且又运用这种权力毁灭自由,抑制社交,那么让我使他们从误解中觉醒吧。让我向他们展示公共福利的真实情况吧。让我向他们表明王权没有受到侵犯,政府一切开支都是议会批准的;所有问题都是和那个决定性时期之前一样自由地进行辩论的,据说我在那段时间里的决策使我获得了支配地位——从这种支配地位他们推论出了贸易方面的损失根源,奴役他人的态度,利用职权优势,以及影响的扩展。但是我根本不相信他们真会相信自己费尽心机向人推销的这些看法;我看他们过于精明,即使按他们自己的判断,他们的结论也表明,他们正诉说着他们没有受过的痛苦,他们所图的不是公众利益而是私利。

  归罪于我的这种不受约束的独有权力是什么?它怎么被发现或怎样得到证明?

  他们指责我所犯的许多腐化、野心和贪婪行为的后果如何呢?

  什么时候曾怀疑过我腐败?一个腐化堕落的人并不腐化堕落,真是怪事一桩!不是给我定了有野心的罪名吗?那么,为何我仍然是个平民?难道不正是我拒绝任用极端保守的工作班子,拒绝接受贵族爵位吗?我确实愿意忘掉我肩上这多次受到议员先生们挖苦、指责的小小装饰品(嘉德勋章)。但是可以肯定地说,尽管在另一场合,这也许会令人眼红或令人愤慨,却不能断言在本议会中会引起怨恨,这里很多人会乐于见到其祖先佩带的荣誉勋章又回到了下议院。

  我出现过任何具有贪婪倾向的症状吗?我当财政大臣之后获得过国王的任何授予物吗?我的品行难道与同一个部门的其他人将会仿效的品行有什么两样吗?难道让我的儿子当审计官和我养家活口的行为都错了吗?我相信,他们职位的提升无法归罪于我,除非能证明我把他们摆在关键岗位上而他们不称职。

  但是,尽管我毫不含糊地否认我是独一无二的人,否认我是首相,否认政府的一切措施都应归咎于我的影响和指示,我却决不会推卸我有幸担负的职责;在我长期担任财政大臣之职的时期里,如果政府采取的措施有损于国家的荣誉或利益,我愿承担责任。

  议员们,总而言之,尽管我对国王陛下给予的信任和信赖始终感到自豪,但我在陛下认为适当时总是愿意离职告退的;所以对于现在这个问题,只要不侵犯王权,我是不会关心其结果的。但是,我坚决认为,向陛下提出撤换他的一个仆人,而又提不出具体罪证,是前所未有的对于王权的最大的侵犯之一。因此,完全为了我主人的缘故,而毫不考虑我个人私利,我希望,所有尊重宪法的人,所有尊重我国宪法所赖以保全的国王的权利和特权的人,都来反对这项动议。

  王德华 译

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