The Railway System

Charles Adams, the great-grandson of United States President John Adams, and the grandson of president John Quincy Adams.

Here is an enormous, an incalculable force …
这是一股巨大的、难以预测的力量……
let loose suddenly upon mankind;
突然降临在人世间;
exercising all sorts of influences, social, moral, and political;
产生了各种各样的影响,社会的、道德的、政治的;
precipitating upon us novel problems which demand immediate solutions;
引发了许许多多急需解决的崭新问题;
banishing the old, before the new is half matured to replace it;
废除了旧事物,但是新事物却还不够成熟,无法完全取而代之;

bringing the nations into close contact before yet the antipathies of race have begun to be eradicated;
在种族对立还未开始消除前,就使全国各个族群发生了密切的交往;
giving us a history full of changing fortunes and rich in dramatic period.
它给我们带来了一个充满变幻莫测的命运和戏剧性插曲的历史时代。
Yet, with the curious hardness of a material age,
然而,在这个出奇冷酷的物质时代,
we rarely regard this new power otherwise than as a money-getting and time-saving machine…
我们只把这种新兴力量当作赚钱和节省时间的工具,
not many of those … who fondly believe they control it, ever stop to think of it as … the most tremendous and far-reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind. …
那些自以为控制了这种力量的人,很少会停下来想一想,这股力量是最强大和最深远的社会变革引擎,既能给人类带来幸福,也能带来灾祸。……
Perhaps if the existing community would take now and then the trouble to pass in review the changes it has already witnessed,
如果现在的社会,愿意时不时地费神回顾一下它所经历的变化,
it would be less astounded at the revolutions which continually do and continually must flash before it;
它可能就不会那么震惊于那些持续不断发生、并且必然在它面前不断闪现的革命。
perhaps also it might with more grace accept the inevitable,
它可能也会更通情达理地接受这不可避免的命运,
and cease from the use-less attempts at making a wholly new world conform itself to the rules and theories of a bygone civilization.
而不再徒劳地尝试,建构一个由陈规旧习主宰的全新世界,将自己禁锢在其中。

—— 未完成的革命

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