Some time before the day set for the formal opening of the Exposition, the
principal officials and many prominent citizens of the nation were formally
invited to attend.  The invitation sent out read as follows:

(S E A L)

Although commemorating no single event in the history of the region lying west
of the Mississippi River, the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition
has been projected as a demonstration of the marvelous resources of the great
West.  In grateful recognition of that spirit of progress, which, in the brief
period of a half century has transformed a wilderness into twenty-four states
and territories, embracing more than two-thirds the area, nearly one-half of
the wealth and one-third of the population of our country, the whole world has
been invited to participate with us in a display of the arts, industries,
manufactures and products of the soil, mine and sea.

The attention of civilization has been called to this display, not merely in
the spirit of emulation but in gratitude to those intrepid pioneers who bravely
faced dangers and overcame obstacles that the source of empire might not be
impeded in its westward march.  It is a memorial to the indomitable courage and
perseverance of that sturdy van-guard no less than as an illustration of the
achievements of their successors, that the Trans-Mississippi and International
Exposition will open its gates from June 1st until November 1st, 1898.  In the
name of the entire west, I most cordially invite your cooperation and request
the honor of your presence.

With profound respect, I am

Your obedient servant,
Gurdon W. Wattles,

Special invitations were sent to many to attend the opening exercises.

The day dawned bright and clear and the beautiful sunshine and balmy air were
regarded as good omens for future success.  This was the day to which the
officials of the Exposition had looked with hope and courage for many weary
months, and now as they gazed at the gathering throngs and the beautiful
buildings, practically complete, and fully realized the magnitude of their
undertaking and at what sacrifices this day with all its triumphs had been, a
feeling of thankfulness and satisfaction came to one and all.  With glad hearts
and smiling faces the officials entered upon the duties of the day strong in
the belief that financial success must follow the artistic success now so
clearly in evidence.

The opening ceremonies were planned to occur at 12 o'clock noon when the
president of the United States would by electric current set the machinery in
motion and formally declare the Exposition open to the world.  At 10:30 A.M. a
parade was formed in the city, the right of the column resting on 16th &
Douglas streets, and moved in the following order:

Mounted Police.
Platoon of Police.
The Transmississippi Troopers as Escort to the
Grand Marshal, T.S. Clarkson.
Aides:  T.C. Shelley, George W. Holbrook,
and Will H. Thomas.
State University Cadet Band.
State University Cadets, Major Charles H.
True, Commanding.
Council Bluffs High School Cadets, Captain
E.A. Beardsley, Commanding.
The Colombian Band.
Omaha High School Cadets, Lieutenant Campbell,
U.S.A., Commanding.
Webster Zouaves, Captin G.W. Sues,
Clarkson Camp, Sons of Veterans of South
Omaha, Captain J.F. Etter, Commanding.
Assistant Marshal, W. G. Shriver
Aides:  J.A. Kuhn, A.B. Smith, R.W. Richardson,
and D.M. Haverly.
Randolph (Iowa) Band, F. Greene, Leader.
Officers of the Exposition.
Speakers and invited guests in carriages.
Assistant Marshal, Dudley Smith.
Aide:  George S. Wright.
Cosmopolitan Band, George W. Greene, leader.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
The Travelers' Protective Association of America,
Joseph Wallenstein, President.
Bechtold's Band.
Camp 120 Modern Woodmen of America,
Captain Martin.
Camp 1454, Modern Woomen of America,
Captain Page.
Camp 2722, Modern Woodmen of America,
Captain Ferris.
Camp 4944, Modern Woodmen of America,
Captain Rosenberg.
Other Uniformed Civic Societies not yet
Major R.S. Wilcox, Assistant Marshal, and
Pawnee City Band.
The Board of Governors and Knights of
Ak-Sar-Ben, Mounted.
The South Omaha Equestrian Club.

The parade, nearly two miles in length, reached the grounds at about 11 o'clock
A.M., and swelled the thousands already gathered about the speaker's stand
which had been erected temporarily at the extreme eastern end of the grand
court.  The following program had been arranged for the day:

Music - Jubilee Overture, ---  Weber.
U.S. Marine Band, William F. Santleman,
By Rev. Samuel J. Nichols of St. Louis.
Gurdon W. Wattles, President of Expo
Music- Song of Welcome
Words by Henry M. Blossom, Jr., of St.
Louis;  music by Mrs. H.A.A. Beech of 
Boston; sung by Transmississippi Ex-
position chorus, 150 voices; Willard
Kimball, Director; Accompanied by 
United States Marine Band.
Hon. Wm. V. Allan, U.S. Senator from
Hon. John. N. Baldwin, Council Bluffs.
Fantasia, The Voice of our Nation
U.S. Marine Band.
Telephonic Message from the President of
the United States will be received and
read to the audience by Governor Silas
A. Holcomb, who will make a short address
on behalf of the state of Nebraska.
Starting of the machinery of the Exposition
By President McKinley.
Music - National Hymn - America.
By Transmississippi Exposition Chorus,
U.S. Marine Band and audience

At 12:15 Director Santelman of the United States Marine Band raised his baton
and the first notes of the Jubilee Overture were wafted out upon the breeze. 
The music of this famous organization was much appreciated and applauded.

Rev. Samuel J. Nichols of St. Louis, Mo., then followed, invocating as follows:

O, God, uncreated and eternal in Thy being, Creator and Lord of all, who dost
uphold and govern all in infinite power, wisdom, righteousness and goodness, we
lift up our hearts to Thee in adoration and praise.  There is none perfect as
Thou art.  We rejoice in thy sovereignty; Thy greatness is unsearchable.  The
Heavens declare the glory, and the earth is full of the tokens of Thy goodness. 
Thou art the bounteous giver of all good, the fountain of all wisdom, the
spirit of all knowledge, the source of all life and happiness.  We are Thy
creatures, utterly dependent upon Thee; without Thee we have no wisdom or
strength or life of our own.  We are also Thy children, made in Thy image and
capable of sharing Thy life.  This honor Thou hast given us and hast crowned us
with sovereignty over the earth.  It is our privilege to call Thee our Father
in Heaven, unworthy and sinful as we have made ourselves, Thou has not forsaken
us, but hast by Thy Holy Spirit, given us wisdom and understanding and power. 
Thou dost inspire men with high purposes and lead them to execute good and
great designs, so, today, in this hour of finished labor, we would not glory in
ourselves, or in the work of our hands, but only in Thee, from whom came the
wisdom to devise and the power to execute.  This glory of human achievement
which surrounds us in this place, and which speaks of man's skills and
industry, of progress in knowledge and increase in power over the land which
Thou hast given us for our inheritance is only a witness and a memorial of Thy
great favor toward us.  When we remember the way by which Thou hast led us, and
from what to what we have come, we are moved to cry in adoring gratitude, "Thou
hast not dealt so with any nation", Thou art the God of our fathers, who didst
lead them to this western world, Thou didst keep a continent hidden until the
fullness of time came, when Thou didst throw open its gates that the people
prepared for it, and of Thy own choice, might enter in and possess the land. 
In it Thou hast lifted up the people and established a nation of freemen. 
Thine hand hast led us, marvelously in the past, and through Thy favor we are
crowned with riches and honor and might.  Our eyes have seen the wonders which
Thou hast wrought in our midst, so that this day the aged among us stand amazed
when they recall the past.  For all this Exposition represents, for the
transfiguration of a wilderness into fruitful fields, and an uninhabited land
into populous states, for progress in arts and manufactures, for the fruits of
the field, the riches of the vines and the abundance of the forests, for growth
in education, refinement, wealth and the comforts of life, for the supremacy of
law, the continuance of our free institutions and the bright hopes for the
future, we give Thee, O God, our most hearty and grateful thanks.

Oh, Gracious Father, whose bounty is infinite, grant now Thy blessing, we
entreat Thee, upon all who have labored for the establishment and completion of
this enterprise.  May what they have done be owned by Thee in advancing and
stimulating all the arts of peace, and in promoting the progress and well being
of society.  Bless the city within whose gates we have come.  May peace abide
within its walls, and prosperity within its palaces.  Bless the commonwealth of
Nebraska, and let Thy favor descend upon its homes, even as the rain and dews
upon its fields.  Bless the governor, even as the rain and dews upon its
fields.  Bless the governor of this state and all associated with him in
authority and counsel.  We pray Thee also, in behalf of our common country. 
Remember Thy servant, the president of the United States, his cabinet, Thy
servants in congress assembled, and all who bear rule in the several states of
this nation, grant unto them the spirit of wisdom and counsel, strengthen them
for any good work and make them faithful in all things to Thy holy law, so that
they may lead the people in righteousness.  While we pray for the land we love,
we would remember before Thee all nations and rulers, especially those who are
represented in this Exposition.  Grant Thy blessing to Queen Victoria and all
her subjects, to the president of the republic of Mexico and all whom he
represents.  May they be led by Thy good spirit in all things, and may peace
and good will abide and grow deeper and stronger between them and us.  Oh, God
of our fathers, Ruler of nations, while we celebrate the triumph of peace, we
remember that the shadow of war is upon our land, and that the sound of
conflict smites our ears.  We earnestly pray that it may please Thee speedily
to restore peace, and to hasten the day when under the reign of righteousness
and love all wars shall cease.  But if, as we believe, Thou hast called us to
take the sword to avenge the wrongs of the helpless and oppressed, and to set
free our brothers from their bondage, then make us strong to serve Thee and
defend us in the day of battle.  Bless the army and the navy; shield them from
all perils by land or by sea, and grant them victory, which is in Thy hand. 
Oh, gracious God, most bountiful benefactor, our hearts are this day lifted up
in hope, and Thou dost make us bold to ask the continuance of Thy favors and
larger blessings for the future.  Thou hast redeemed the region in which we
dwell from savage rule, and hast given its abundance into our hands.  The
wilderness, where once Thy image was defiled by ignorance and superstition, has
been filled with happy homes purified by Thy word; Thy temples stand on every
side and Thy people sing Thy praise.  But surely Thou hast not brought us so
far on our way only to leave us.  Abide with us; grant us more of Thy light and
truth, and make us faithful in all things to Thy holy law, so that through our
obedience to Thee, we may be known as that people where God is the Lord. 
Multiply peace and prosperity among us.  Lift up the poor an cast down the
proud.  Rebuke vice and oppression, cast down the wicked and defeat their
plans.  Make righteousness to flourish, truth to be established, and brotherly
love to prevail in all our burdens.  All this we humbly ask in the name of Him,
who has taught us to pray, saying; 'Our Father which art in Heaven; hallowed by
Thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven; give
us this day our daily bread, and forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the
kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.'
President Wattles' Address.

Prayer was followed by the address of President Wattles as follows:

The Transmississippi and International Exposition is a reality today only by
virtue of the pluck and energy and enterprise of the people of the country it
represents.  Amid the financial depression of the greatest panic of recent
years, amid the gloom of doubt and distress which followed this panic, the
first steps were taken in this great enterprise.

Against the advice of many of our most conservative citizens, and the prophecy
of failure by some, the work was begun.  During its early stages there were
many discouragements, but when the congress of the United States recognized the
Exposition as worthy of its encouragement and support, all doubts were
dispelled, and the people of this community, and of the entire west, rose above
the calamities of the hour and united in the work with an energy which assured

But these beautiful grounds and buildings have not been prepared and filled
with the choicest specimens of the products of the world by chance.  This work
represents many weary months of toil, many discouragements and vicissitudes,
but a final triumph worthy of the men who have given it their best thought and
energy.  This, the opening day, crowns their work with an adequate reward.  We
see the results of their efforts in this magnificent spectacle of architectural
beauty and grandeur, commanding the admiration and attention of the world.

This Exposition celebrated no single event in the history of the
Transmississippi country.  This history for the periods of a single generation
past reveals a succession of achievements, any one of which might properly be
the subject of a great demonstration of this character.

Fifty years ago the larger part of the country west of the Mississippi River
was unorganized territory, and was indicated on the map as the Great American
desert.  Its arid plains and unexplored mountains were occupied by savage
tribes, and there herds of antelope and buffalo roamed unmolested by the white
man, in solitude unbroken by the implements of civilization.

There were no railroads

No railroad had been constructed west of the Missouri river.  But one city of
more than 50,000 population had been built west of the Mississippi.  The total
population of this vast domain, comprising more than two-thirds of the area of
the United States, was less than 2,000,000 and more than three-fourths of this
population was in three states on its southeastern border.

The city of Omaha had not been founded.  The resources on which this city
depends for its great commerce today were undeveloped. Gold had just been
discovered in California, and the march of civilization toward the west had
hardly begun.

Fifty years is within the memory of many here present, but what a change has
been wrought in this region.  Within its borders are now twenty states and four
territories with a population of more than 20,000,000, wealth double that of
Spain and Portugal combined, and an internal commerce greater than the foreign
commerce of Germany, France and Great Britain.

The Great American Desert is no more.  Its eastern part is covered with fertile
farms, which produced last year more than 1,000,000,000 bushels of corn and
500,000,000 bushels of wheat which, with the other agricultural products of
this section were sold for more than $1,100,000,000.  The western part of this
desert now forms the pasture of the nation.  On its nutritious grasses feed the
herds which supply  the meat to the markets of the world.

In 1850, the buffalo which roamed over this region outnumbered the cattle in
the United States.  In 1895 it is estimated that there were 30,000,000 cattle
and 50,000,000 hogs and sheep west of the Mississippi river and the value of
the yearly product of these herds is $400,000,000, or nearly equal in value to
the annual output of the gold and silver mines throughout the world.

Nor does the grain and stock of this country comprise its only products.  The
fruit and wine of California and Oregon, the forests of Washington, Minnesota
and Arkansas, the sugar of Louisiana, Utah and Nebraska, and the cotton of the
southeastern states, furnish no small part of its yearly commerce.  But its
mines must not be overlooked.  From them has been taken in paying quantities
every known mineral.  The copper, iron and coal already discovered would supply
the markets of the world for a century to come.  The surface of the mountains
and hills has hardly been prospected, but the richest and most extensive gold
and silver mines in the world have been discovered.  From them has been
produced in the past fifty years more than sufficient to pay the government
debt at the close of the rebellion, and their annual output now amounts to more
than $100,000,000.

Prairie Schooner is Obsolete.

The caravan of prairie schooners, requiring six months of hardship and danger
to travel from the Mississippi to the Pacific coast, has been displaced by the
overland express, with palace cars provided with all the conveniences of home,
which travel the distance in thirty-three hours.  No less than 80,000 miles of
railroad have been constructed in the transmississippi country during the last
fifty years at the fabulous cost of more than $2,000,000,000.  Towns and
villages have sprung into existence along these roads as by magic.  Great
cities have been built, commercial relations established with all parts of the
world, and manufacturing has assumed enormous proportions.

Surely with all these achievements during the short space of half a century we
might well celebrate a growth and development unparalleled in history.  But
looking to the future rather than to the past, the commercial congress which
authorized this exposition, wisely conceived its objects to the the advancement
of the commercial interests of the west rather than the celebration of any of
its past achievements.

We have gathered here in these beautiful buildings and on these grounds some of
the resources of this vast country, and have invited out eastern neighbors and
foreign friends to bring their products, and come with their citizens to be our
guests and here study with is the lessons of the future which these evidence of
our past progress teach.  If the exhibition here made of the resources of this
new country should demonstrate that greater prosperity and happiness could be
found within its borders for many who now live in less favored climes, the
purposes of this exposition would be accomplished.

With a history that has hardly been written, but which records greater growth
and more important changes than has been made in any other country on earth in
500 years of its life; with natural resources unequaled in value, variety and
extent; with a climate which inspires the greatest mental and physical
activity; with a people composed of the best elements of all nations who have
broken the ties which bound them to the homes of their fathers, and have
wrested this country from savage life; with all these advantages and
achievements, what can we prophesy for the future generation, and who will
attempt to limit the possibilities of a people who have accomplished such
wonders in the past?

Will Pale Into Insignificance.

This magnificent exposition, illustrating the products of our soil and mines
and factories, made possible by the interventions of the last century, will
pale into insignificance at the close of the twentieth century.  When the
agricultural resources of this rich country are fully developed by the use of
its rivers and streams for irrigation; when the sugar, as well as the bread and
meat for the markets of the world shall be produced here and carried to these
markets by the electric forces of nature; when the minerals in our mountains
and the gold and silver in our mines, shall be extracted and utilized by this
same force; when our natural products shall be manufactured here, then this
transmississippi country will support a population in peace and plenty greater
than the present population of any other nation in the world.

When we consider that the British empire, exclusive of its colonies, embraces
only 121,000 square miles, that the civilization of Egypt was supported on less
than 10,000 square miles, and that with the same density of population as the
state of Ohio this country would provide homes for 300,000,000 people, we can
appreciate the possibilities which the future has in store in this, the richest
part of the world's domain.

Standing at the close of a century teaming with great discoveries and
inventions which have elevated the civilization of the world to a higher plane
than ever before, surrounded with such evidences of the past progress and
future possibilities of this country, who can prophesy its future greatness,
and who can estimate the influence of this exposition in accelerating its
development.  Like a great beacon light it sends its rays throughout the land
and challenges the attention of the world.  To the homeless millions of less
favored lands it is a messenger of promise.  To the weary mariner whose
fortunes have been wrecked on the seas of adversity it is a harbinger of hope. 
It opens new fields to the investor, inspires the ambition of the genius,
incites the emulation of states, and stands the crowning glory in the history
of the west.


At the conclusion of the president's address, Hon. G.M. Hitchcock read the
following letter from Senator Allen:

"Washington, D.C. May 28, 1898.

Hon. Gurdon W. Wattles, Omaha:  

My Dear Sir:  

It has become apparent that it will be impractical for me to be at the opening
of the exposition.  I regret this extremely, as it has been my desire to be
present, if possible, on that occasion.  Having had intimate connection with
the promotion of the enterprise from its inception, I have taken a deep
interest in its success, believing that it will furnish our people a desirable
and peculiar means of education, and that it will be highly valuable in
attracting attention to Nebraska in a way that could not be done otherwise.  I
do not doubt the exposition will be successful, and that hundreds of thousands
of people will, by it be attracted to Omaha and the state at large, who would
otherwise know little of the state and city, and that every one who may visit
Nebraska during the exposition will be amply well satisfied.  With our great
natural resources, beautiful summer scenery, and the health-giving qualities of
our climate, Nebraska could not be otherwise than attractive to visitors, apart
from what may be seen at the Exposition.  Our possibilities as a state are
almost boundless and at present inconceivable.  The Nebraska fifty years from
now will present one of the greatest and richest agricultural communities of
the world.

But much as I would like to be with you, and much as I have desired and
intended if possible to be, I feel that I could not excuse myself for leaving
my post of duty at this time when congress is engaged in discussing ways and
means of raising money with which to successfully prosecute the present war
against Spain.  We were altogether too long derelict in our duty to Cuba. 
Within less than one hundred miles from our shores the extermination of
1,500,000 people by starvation, of old men, boys, women and children, including
sucklings, went on unchecked until one-third of the population of Cuba have
died by that means.  We could no longer justify ourselves in the eyes of the
Christian and civilized by declining to take immediate cognizance of the
conditions there prevailing and live up to our high professions of humanity by
intervening in the war between Spain and her Cuban subjects.  We, of all
nations of the western hemisphere have the power to say to Spain that she will
not depopulate Spain by starvation for aspiring to gain the liberty we
ourselves enjoy and hold to be the rightful heritage of all.

From the start I have avocated Cuban liberty, even at a time when it was not
popular in the senate to do so, and having been a pioneer in the cause I could
not feel that my duty was discharged unless I remained at my desk in the senate
until the ways and means of raising the necessary money to prosecute the war
successfully have been fully determined.

I trust that I may be permitted to spend a portion of my summer vacation at the
exposition, and contribute my full share to its success, and if at any time it
shall be deemed desirable by the management for me to deliver an address, I
will gladly do so.  I trust that you will do me the honor of announcing during
the exercises the fact that I am detained by my duties at Washington.

Expressing the hope and the full confidence that the exposition will be
preeminently successful, and that ere the summer is gone the war with Spain
will have been successfully terminated, and Cuba, Puerto Rico and the
Philippines made free, and Spain forever driven from her last foot of territory
on this continent, I remain

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

William V. Allen."


President Wattles announced that in the absence of Senator Allen, he had on
short notice asked Hon. John L. Webster to fill his place.  Mr. Webster spoke
as follows:

We meet today amid surroundings that excite the most lively imagination and
rouse the dullest sensibilities.  Entrancing and bewitching scenes are all
about us.  The best that architecture could plan and that skill could construct
and that art could decorate and adorn, make up the exterior of this, the most
unique exposition ever witnessed on the American continent.

These mighty structures stand where fifty years ago were clustered tepees of
the Omaha Indians.  Then the silence of this place was disturbed only by the
Indian war-sound, by the revelry of the Indian dance, and the prairies rang
with no sound but the war-whoop of the aborigine.  Today it is surrounded by
twenty-thousand buildings, the homes of 150,000 people, who are the members of
the rich commercial city of Omaha.

But this is not an exposition for our city, or for our state.  We are part and
parcel of the great transmississippi country, a country extending from the
river east, which De Soto discovered, westward to the Pacific Ocean, and from
the Mexican republic on the south to the British possessions on the north, a
country with more than 15,000,000 of the Anglo-Saxon people.  It is a country
now divided into states and territories, each large enough for an empire, with
resources unparalleled, with soil unexcelled, and with capabilities
immeasurable.  It is the granary and market-house of the world.  To borrow a
thought from Edmund Burke:  "The scarcity which the empires and kingdoms have
many times felt would have been a desolating famine if this child of their old
age, with a true filial pity, with a Roman charity, had not put the breast of
its youthful exuberance to the mouth of its exhausted parents."

On this spot the vast resources and mighty wealth of this extensive
transmississippi territory are today put on exhibition, not so much for our own
instruction and entertainment as that the rest of mankind may come and see for
themselves, look on with a startled amazement and depart with astonishment and

But we are not a selfish nor a sectional people.  We are a part of a rich,
commercial nation.  We know but one constitution, but one country, but one
flag.  We have opened the doors of the exposition to all our fellow-citizens
and received the products and exhibits of all the states, which gives it a
truly national character.

World wide in scope

We are cosmopolitan people and extend the scope of the enterprise until it
became international in character.  Canada upon the north, and the republics of
South America, are here mingling with us.  Exhibitors from various countries in
Europe are here, vying with each other in their efforts to sell.  Here may be
seen the Italian, who walks the streets where Caesar's legions once trod; the
Greeks from the classic land where Athens was, and where the Spartans won an
unfading historic fame.  Here are a dusky people, with their camels, from the
deserts of Arabia.  Here are Turks from that land whose people bow in prayer at
the voice of the priest from the minaret.

Then, too, we welcome the Asiatics from the western shores of the Pacific. 
Here is the Mongolian race from the Chinese Empire, which traces its dynasty
back through the fabulous ages.  Here are exhibitors from Japan- that country
which in our day has taken a mighty leap in advance, and is now recognized as
one of the commercial and naval powers of the world.  It is this exposition, so
grand in conception, so broad in purpose and so comprehensive in character,
that is this day thrown upon the throng here present, and which extends a
hearty welcome to the millions who shall visit it.

To build these immense palaces of beauty we have drawn from the past as well as
the present.  We have studied the artistic among all people and in all
countries.  In architecture we have drawn from whatever was the most beautiful
in Gothic, whatever was most refined in classic, whatever was most desirable in
Grecian and whatever was most noble in Roman, and supplemented and improved
them with the most artistic conceptions of the present age, and the result we
see before us is a realistic picture of a fairy scene.

This decorative statuary is not the fruit of a day, the birth of an hour.  It
is the present imprint of an art which had its supreme revival in the Moses of
Michael Angelo, and Titian's Tomb by Canova.  The figures which these sculptors
chiseled from the marble were the letters of the alphabet of art and have left
an impression on the centuries which have come after them.  out of the
fulfillment of that art American skill has decorated these buildings with forms
of grace and of beauty, which express the taste and refinement of this age.

Within the walls of these beautiful buildings, one may wander in a bewildering
maze of exhibits.  There will be found the best and richest productions of
American soil; cotton from the vast plantations of Louisiana and Mississippi,
ripened grain from the wheat-fields of Minnesota, Washington and Oregon; and
the golden king corn from Kansas and Nebraska.  There may be seen the woods and
finished lumber culled from the pine forests of Michigan, and the high towering
trees of the Columbia river.  There may be seen minerals, copper from the
Anaconda, and silver and gold which the energy of our mountain pioneers have
delved from beneath the Rockies and Sierras.  There will be seen the skilled
handiwork of the mechanic and artisan, and in machinery hall the perfected
result of what was once an inventor's dream.  Within this circle is gathered
evidences of the toil, of the prosperity, and of the refinement of 70,000,000
of industrial people who have brought America to its present high standard of
national supremacy.

Emblem of Republican Majesty.

The government building at the west end of the lagoon, with its long colonnades
and high shining dome, supporting the Goddess of Liberty, stands as the emblem
of power and strength and majesty of this republic.  It speaks for the
greatness of our nation, the realization of what John Bright once said: "I see
one vast confederation stretching from the frozen north in unbroken line to the
glowing south, and from the wild billows of the Atlantic westward to the calmer
waters of the Pacific main, and I see one people and one law and one language
and one faith, and over all that wide continent the home of freedom, and a
refuge for the oppressed of every race and of every clime."

We have reached the condition pictured by John Bright, and we have passed
beyond it.  Our commerce envelops the seas, and our navy is in the flush of
victory.  Our grasp is on the Sandwich Islands and our gallant Dewey holds the

The nation's future which John Bright saw fails short of the future we see
today.  We are amazed at our own growth since the days of Washington and
Jefferson to our present invincible power.  We are now on the high vantage
ground where we can look forward to the fulfillment of American destiny.  The
present is already a realized dream and the brightness of the future is
stronger than a vision.

To know the present let me draw a contrast from the past.  Marcus Aurelius
ruled over Rome at the closing of its golden period.  His victories in war and
achievements in peace classed him, in the minds of Romans, with Caesar and
Augustus.  In a plaza at Rome there was erected a high, towering monument to
his memory.  Circling around the column from the base to the capitol the
historic scenes and incidents of his career were carved and chiseled in solid

That column still stands, browned by the centuries that have rolled by since
its construction.  It stands not alone as a relic of antiquity, but as an
historic monument of an age when civilization, linked with all that makes a
nation great and powerful, was in eastern Europe, and when one man ruled the
farthest known portions of the world to the confines of the western sea.  At
the side of the square close by is a high and gray colored building, and along
in front in blazoned letters is the name of an American insurance company.

There is a singular linking together by way of contrasts of the changed
conditions of seventeen hundred years.  If Marcus Aurelius could come forth
from his long slumber his eye would rest on that monument on which is recorded
the deeds of Rome's greatness and grandeur, and he would see that Imperial City
mouldy with age and its magnificent structures crumbling into ruins.  When he
looked on the assembled multitudes he would not see the legions of old that
marched under his command.  He would see a new people and hear a new language. 
If he inquired what had wrought this great change, he would find that
civilization in its onward course and westward march, had discovered a new
continent beyond the sea.  that a new race of people with a new language had
built up a mighty republic of seventy millions of people, where industry had an
open field, where science had made new discoveries, where literature and art
and refinement were the common property of all her citizens.  That this new
people with characteristic energy and enterprise were insuring the lives of the

Triumph of Fifty Years.

The scene thus presented to Marcus Aurelius would be more astonishing to him
than were the lines upon the wall which were interpreted to Nebuchadnezzar. 
Yet, this transmississippi country has developed more and accomplished more in
the last fifty years than was worked out in the seventeen centuries that marked
the space of time between the age of Marcus Aurelius and the planting of this
western civilization which this exposition is builded to commemorate.

To judge of the future, let us draw another lesson from the past:  The earliest
civilization had its habitation in western Asia, in Palestine and Assyria.  It
joined hands with trade and commerce as time rolled by and left Babylon and
Ninevah in ruins, and took up its abode in Egypt and northern Africa.  Later on
it left the land of the sphynx and pyramids and took up its abode in Greece,
the land that became famous by the sculpture of Praxiteles, by the matchless
oratory of Demosthenes, by the wisdom and philosophy of Socrates and Plato and
by the statesmanship of Pericles and Phocian; the land whose patriotism made
the names Thermopylae and Marathon synonymous with all that is daring and brave
and glorious in war.  

Time rolled on and civilization, with its companions, trade and commerce, left
this land of charming scenes and bewitching history and passed westward across
the Adriatic to imperial Rome.  From the age of Caesar and Augustus to the time
of Constantine, Rome ruled the old world, but civilization traveled westward
until it reached the confines of Europe, where the ocean seemed a barrier, and
stayed its progress for  fourteen long centuries.  Rome crumbled into ruins,
Brussels, and Antwerp and Paris and London became the commercial centers. 
Italy broke into dukedoms and provinces and England, France and Germany became
the ruling nations or Europe.  Civilization, urged on by its companions, trade
and commerce, like a man of nervous energy and restless ambition, found a way
to cross the ocean and the new continent of America was discovered.  They
crossed the stormy waters of the sea and made their new home in this western
hemisphere.  Here our nation has grown up and the scepter of supremacy has
passed from the old world to the new.  In the fulfillment of our destiny, and
to hold trade and commerce within our grasp, we have to work out the problem of
universal civilization.  We may have to join hands with the great powers of
Europe to compass the trade of western Asia, and bring it across the Pacific
into the harbor of Puget Sound, and through the Golden Gate.

Destiny of the Anglo-Saxon.

We are an international nation; Europe is on the east of us, and Asia is on the
west of us.  It is no longer a question of the far East, it is a question of
the West.  In the southern waters of the Pacific is Australia, practically a
newly discovered country.  The Anglo-Saxon people are already there.  It is
like a newly risen sun in the southwestern waters, whose foreign commercial
trade of more than $600,000,000 per year demands our most considerate

There, too, at our western door is Japan, already a great commercial nation,
and with a navy that takes first rank with the modern sphynxes of war which
float in Pacific waters.  There, too, is China.  Russia has crossed that
territory with a line of railroad whose depot stands fronting the surf-line of
the western ocean, and her flag floats over Port Arthur.  England, Germany and
France have their navies floating in their waters and their flags floating in
her fortified harbors.  China is about to awake from hibernating sleep of four
thousand years.  Her four hundred millions of people are to become the
consumers of American products and the patrons of American commerce.  Who can
say that within the next fifty years the commercial trade of the Pacific shall
not take supremacy over the commercial trade of the Atlantic?  May not this
exposition mark the beginning of a new era of prosperity, when the commerce of
Europe and of Asia shall find their race course across this mid-continent and
pour out their wealth to overflowing in this transmississippi country.

A month ago it was a serious question whether the war with Spain would not
injure this exposition, but within a month it has become an accentuation of the
expansive power of the American nation.  A month ago the American people were
disposed to cling to the traditional policy of isolation; today they receive
with patriotic enthusiasm the doctrine of annexation and of conquest.  A month
ago the Philippines were in the far east; today they are in the nearer west.

Emilio Castelar said to the Spanish Cortez twenty-seven years ago, words which
in these days of rapid change breathe the spirit of prophecy; America, and
especially Saxon America, with its immense virgin territories, with its
republic, with its equilibrium between stability and progress, with its
harmonies between liberty and democracy, is the continent of the future, the
immense continent stretched by God between the Atlantic and the Pacific, where
mankind may essay and resolve all social problems.  Europe is to decide whether
she will confound herself with Asia, placing upon her lands old altars and upon
the altars old idols, and upon the idols plutocracies and upon the
plutocracies, empires, or whether she will collaborate with America in the
grand work of human civilization.

Spain's Great Mistake

Spain heeded not his voice.  She has not taken part with America in the grand
work of civilization.  She has clung to her old idols and her despotic empire. 
In this, the close of the nineteenth century, she carried to the beautiful
island of Cuba the cruel and relentless warfare of the fourteenth century.

Our Saxon civilization of which Castelar spoke entered its protest against the
barbarism of the middle ages being transplanted to this island of the western
hemisphere, and determined to eradicate it by severe arbitrament of war.  It is
our high standard of civilization, our love of liberty, our sympathy with
suffering humanity, our regard for national honor, that has brought us to the
initial point where we must solve questions of national policy and which we are
to settle for future ages before the present century shall close.

A month ago the Sandwich Islands seemed too remote an object for the grasp of
national ambition.  They have now become a resting place for the American army
in its race across the Pacific to give aid and assistance to our navy in the
Philippines and to make complete the conquest of Admiral Dewey, whose victory
at Manila is the wonder of the age and the marvel of the seas.

Yonder administration building is supported by four open arches, looking toward
the four points of the compass.  They are emblematic of the thought that this
exposition stands in the center of the American republic, and that the people
of the transmississippi country, through those gateways, are ready to welcome
to us the commerce and trade from the four corners of the earth, which shall
make use the greatest, the happiest, and the most prosperous people in the

Music, Song of Welcome

The song of Welcome, and ode to the exposition, written by Henry M. Blossom,
Jr., of St. Louis, and set to music by Mrs. H.A.A. Beech, of Boston, Mass, was
then sung by the exposition chorus of one hundred and fifty voices, under
director of music, Professor Willard Kimball, of Lincoln, Nebraska, accompanied
by the United States Marine Band.  The words of the Exposition Ode were as

Welcome, thrice welcome, to the people of our land;
Welcome to the people, the people of the world;
Here north and south and east and west, united hand in hand
Have reared a city and their flag unfurled.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to the people of the world!

Here science weaves her wonders, her wonders for the mind
Here stands arrayed the golden pride, the golden pride of art,
And commerce hath searched the world to find
The treasures rare of many, of many a far-off mart.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to the people of the world!

Welcome, thrice welcome to the people of our land,
And to the people of the world all hail!
And so forever may this splendor in their memories stand
Undimm'd, although its builded fabric fail.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to the people of our land,
Welcome, and to the people of the world, All hail!
Address of Hon. John M. Baldwin.
of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mr. John N. Baldwin was then introduced by President Wattles and spoke as

Man delights in retrospection and indulges in anticipation .  The faithful
historian never lacks appreciative audiences, for the dullest eye must lighten
and the most sluggish pulse quicken at the recital of the trials and triumphs
of the past.  Neither is a prophesy without honor even in his own country, when
to listeners, whose hopes and aims are one with his, he predicts a glorious

But the critic of existent institutions treads no primrose path.  Unless
carefully guarded in expression he will damn with faint praise, disgust with
fulsome flattery, or awaken jealousy by unfavorable comparison.  In all ages
there are those who insist that the present time is sick and out of joint; that
there is nothing in the present like unto the past; and that whatever is, is
not comparable with what is to be.

Fortunately for the progress of the world, those who revel in rehearsals and
venture so much in prophecy have not been in the majority; only sufficient in
number to disturb and impede.  It is sad to say, but it must be said, that in
our own time there are so many individuals who insist that there is no progress
today except in mechanics.

They croak and cry.  It is simply the time of steam, steel and starvation. 
Like puny whispers they pull their pencils to write, "the state in danger". 
They declare and resolve that governments are so drawn and trussed that for the
few there is plethoric plenty while the many starve.  They philosophize that
this is an age of machinery, not an heroical, devotional, philosophical or
moral age.

These contentions and opinions imposed upon the thoughtful, intelligent and
progressive men of the time, who believe that the present is better than the
past and promises more for the future, the task of denial of assertion and of
proof.  To deny and assert is easy.  To prove requires organization and labor. 
In their efforts to arouse men to more glorious triumphs, they met with many
difficulties.  "Happy men are full of the present, for its bounty suffices
them; and wise men also, for its duties engage them."  The busy man would say,
"with me it is what I eat, where shall I drink, my body, what shall it put on?" 
The iconoclastic man, "Do not talk about our achievements.  It is better to
listen forever than to brag."  Among these and many others the opinion prevails
that there are two classes of lies, common lies and statistics.  "Give us
proofs", they say, "outward signs and tokens."

In vain did they plead, as did the wise men of old, "Say not thou, 'what is the
cause that the former days were better than these?'  For thou dost not require
concerning this."

From out these discussions, controversies and opinions revolved the idea of an
exposition.  Tested, it has been found to be practical and promotive.  The
exposition is an item of evidence.  It goes to prove not only what has been
done, but what may be accomplished.  It is an eye-witness and an expert.  It
lays in your hand the record of the past.  It makes, while you look, the
exhibits of the present.  It paints before your eyes the splendor of still
greater achievements on the cloud curtain for the future.  It shows itself,
wherever there is a spirit of commercialism, a sense of pride, and an impulse
for improvement.

The exposition has become the instrument of civilization, being a concomitant
to empire, westward it takes its way.  The crystal palace, the centennial, the
world's fair, the transmississippi exposition!

We celebrate at this hour the opening of the transmississippi and international
exposition, and this day marks an important era in our development.

Object of the exposition

The purpose of this exposition is to display the products, manufacturers and
industries of the states and territories west of the Mississippi river.  The
territory embraced is two-thirds of the area of the Union and contains nineteen
states and five territories.  Part of this territory was acquired by purchase
from France in 1805 and part by treaties, negotiations and cessions.

I refer to these facts because from 1802 to 1850 this purchase, these treaties
and these cessions were the subject of public discussions and much that was
said and written fittingly illustrates the thought I have heretofore endeavored
to express.

During these times some there were who deal too much in prophesy, and what they
then foretold is of surpassing interest in view of what has since happened.

Referring to the standard histories and the leading reviews of this period, I
find that the opponents of the acquisition of this territory would rend the
public apart; that no common ties in interest would ever bind together under
one government men who fought Indians, trapped bears and hunted buffaloes, and
men who build ships and caught fish in the harbors of the Atlantic ocean.  It
would enormously increase the public debt.  Two millions for an island and
possibly as much ground on the main land as is now covered by the state of New
York was enough in all conscience, but to pay fifteen million dollars for lands
containing over one million square miles was revolutionary and
unconstitutional.  The limits of the federation could not be safely extended
beyond the stony (Rocky) mountains."  As late as 1825 one United States senator
boldly proclaimed in the senate: "A member of congress traveling from his home
to Washington and return would cover a distance of 9,200 miles.  At the rate of
thirty miles per day, and allowing him forty-four days for Sundays, three
hundred and fifty days would be consumed, and the member would have fourteen
days in Washington before he started home.  It would be quicker to go around
Cape Horn or by Behring's Strait, Baffin Bay and David Strait to the Atlantic,
and so to Washington."

Moans of Early Croakers.

They also said," All settlers who go beyond the Mississippi river will be
forever lost to the United States."  Pike, whose name is attached to the giant
peak of the rockies, condemned these plains to everlasting sterility.  He
officially reported to the war department as follows:  "From these immense
prairies will be derived one great advantage to the United States, namely, the
restriction of our population to some certain limits, and thereby a
continuation of the Union.  They will be constrained to limit themselves to the
border of the Missouri and the Mississippi, while they leave the prairies
incapable of cultivation to the wandering and uncivilized aborigines of the

In 1858 the North American Review declared: "The people of the United States
have reached their inland western frontier and the banks of the Missouri are
the shores at the termination of a vast ocean desert for one thousand miles in
breadth which it is proposed to travel, if at all, with caravans of camels and
which interpose a final barrier to the establishment of large communities,
agricultural, commercial or even pastoral."

In all authorized publications and on all school maps, the strip of land lying
west of the Missouri rover and east of the Rocky Mountains south to the Mexican
frontier and north to British America was called "an unknown land" and
designated as "The Great American Desert."

I have the honor today of being the official spokesman of the Transmississippi
and International Exposition.  In the discharge of the duty imposed upon me I
now and here assert, realizing full well the breadth and depth and meaning of
every work I utter, that in fertility and productiveness of soil, in mountains
and meadows, rivers and lakes, metals and minerals, forests and farms,
sea-coast and harbors, cereals, fruits and flowers, cattle, horses and hogs,
healthful climate, grandeur of scenery and intelligence and industry of
inhabitants, there is not on this globe a body or tract of land of the same
area equal to that region of country covered by the states and territories of
the Union west of the Mississippi river.


In proof whereof we welcome you to these grounds. Come through these gates and
enter these buildings.  We will give you "ocular proof", or

At the least shall so prove it,
That the probation bears no hinge nor loop
To hang a doubt on.

With samples and exhibits, records and reports, with representatives
credentialed and accredited, we will prove to the thoughtful, intelligent and
unprejudiced people of the world, that "The Great American Desert" must have
deserted, for it cannot be found.  Where fifty years ago they said it was, we
will show a farm of 67,000,000 acres under cultivation, producing annually
products of the value of $1,000,000,000.

The prairies which were considered "incapable of cultivation", produce
annually, 1,200,000,000 bushels of corn, 350,000,000 bushels of wheat and
30,000,000 tons of hay, of the aggregate value of $600,000,000 making no
accounting of the other cereals, the fruits and the vegetables.
Instead of "trapping bear and hunting buffaloes" 9,000,000 horses and mules
work in the valleys; 32,000,000 cattle feed on the hills; 51,000,000 of sheep
and hogs fleece and fatten, and this livestock alone is of the aggregate value
of $1,200,000,000.

They thought $15,000,000 was an extortionate price to pay for this wilderness. 
Today the annual output of gold and silver is $100,000,000; of copper and other
minerals, $100,000,000; and of coal, #30,000,000.  With the precious metals
alone from our mines we could pay the purchase price in sixty days.

The "barrier to the establishment of commercial enterprise" stormed by the
sturdy frontiersmen, gave way and on the other side hum and whirl the wheels of
factories, turning out annually $1,400,000,000 worth of the best and cheapest
manufactured goods in the world.

The "caravan of camels" not coming from their Egyptian midnight, the people of
this country constructed 80,000 miles of railway as a means of travel and

Homes of Millions.

In the land where only fifty years ago "wandering and uncivilized aborigines"
sought shelter in wigwams and leaf tents now live 22,000,000 of intelligent
people, with 121 universities and colleges, 62,000 school houses, 5,700,000
children, 6,000 newspapers and 45,000 religious organizations, having a
membership of 3,500,000, and worshipping in 44,000 church edifices.

The aggregate wealth of this region of country is $22,000,000,000, or more than
one-half the entire capital of Great Britain.

These are not figures of speech, but the arithmetic of facts.  I have given the
numbers round but always under.

For one of these territories the government paid $7,000,000, yet in a few more
years, it received from the seal islands embraced therein, also, the purchase
price, and there is now in sight in its gold mines enough to pay the national

Another has the greatest onyx mines in the world, yet its shipments of fruit
amount to 10,000,000 pounds a year.

One of these transmississippi states has the greatest deposits of marble of any
state in the Union, and yet this same state took the prize at the Columbian
Exposition for the best apples in the world.

Another leads the Union not only in gold or silver production, but in the
production of wool as well, and it has more sea-coast than the states of Maine,
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina combined.

Still another produces annually an amount equal to four hundred dollars for
each of its inhabitants, man, woman or child, and no other country in the world
can show an equal product per capita.

Another state has already taken from its mines silver to an amount equal to the
present circulation of silver coin in the United States.  One thousand miles
from the place where stand the greatest flour mills in the world, and all in
this same territory, is a land where cotton, corn and olives grow in adjoining

In one state there is a greater variety of minerals than in any other section
of country of like size in the world.  Another has a region of country in the
hills a hundred miles square, which is the richest in the world, containing the
largest and most easily worked mass of low grade ore yet discovered.  Another
has an area equal to the German Empire, with 62,000 miles to spare, and could
sustain upon its surface with ease and prosperity the entire population of the
United States.

Wealthy in other ways.

Here we find "literature and the elegant arts growing up side by side with the
grosser plants of daily interest".  In almost every city are academics of
painting, sculpture, music and literature.  The development in the fine arts
has not been as conspicuous as in the industrial pursuits.  I do not think that
I would be superfluously explanatory if I assigned the reason.

These people have imagination and taste, and long to hold communion with the
visible forms of all that is beautiful and refined, but for the last fifty
years they have been using their brain and brawn in a war with rude nature. 
They have been employing their genius to find reason and glory in matter.  With
them it has been an age of utility and utensil.  Egyptian and Indian
architecture, Phidian sculpture, Gothic minsters, Italian paintings, Grecian
epics and Scottish ballads are not produced by a people whose time is consumed
in constructing railways, building cities, disembowling mountains, draining
lakes into irrigating canals, "bottling up the forces of gravity and selling it
by retail," yoking electricity and steam, and directing them both as unwearied
and obedient servants.

The results which this exposition will show have been attained are largely due
to the character of the people who took possession of this land.  They were of
the best blood of the union; men of depth and range; of aplomb and reserve; of
judgment and common sense.  Men who would spare nothing and wanted everything. 
Men who believed in action and knew the value of every moment of time.  Men who
realized "that the poorest day that passes over us is the conflux of two
eternities.  It is made up of currents that issue from the remotest past and
flow onward into the remotest future."  Men who soon found that agriculture was
just beginning when they felled the forest, and that driving from the streams
the Indian and his canoe was not the end of commerce.  Men who were willing to
give their lifework to the making of the alphabet of the language of
development, leaving the word forming and phrase making to those who would
succeed them.  Men who, actuated by the impulse to better themselves and also
their descendants, co-operating with the organic effort of nature "to mount and
ameliorate," overcame the "wilderness" and converted the "desert" into a garden
of benefits.
Man of this People.

I do not believe I shall have adequately discharged the duty of this office
unless I speak of one other factor in the glorious development of this great
country.  We today should bow our heads in reverence and speak the name of
Abraham Lincoln.  The greatest single factor or agency in the development of
this country and in the bringing of this people together in a spirit of union
and brotherhood was the construction of the Pacific Railways and Abraham
Lincoln was the leading public man who had sufficient prescience of the
necessity of the construction of these railways.

And Abraham Lincoln was of this people.  He was born about 100 miles from the
east line of the Louisiana purchase.  For fifty-two of the fifty-six years of
his life on earth he labored in his territory with the pioneers for the
development of this country, the organization of its society and the
establishment and preservation of this government.  He was a frontiersman, and
yet of all the greatest, the best and the mightiest men of the past nineteen
centuries, he was the only man of whom we can say, "Some there are who doubt
the divinity of Christ, but no one the godliness of Lincoln."

When the cornerstone of this great enterprise was laid, many were the things
which we promised you would see and hear on Opening day.  And now into these
magnificent buildings and on these beautiful grounds we ask the people of the
earth to come and judge their fulfillment.  While your eyes are enraptured with
the glories of these scenes, your ears will be enchanted with our promised

"Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet
In this wide hall, with earth's inventions stored,
And praise the invisible, universal Lord,
Who lets once more in peace the nations meet
Where science, art and labor have outpoured,
Their myriad horns of plenty at our feet."


Fantasia - The Voice of Our Nation,
was then rendered by the United States Marine Band.

The President of the United States.

The plan to receive the message from President McKinley over the long distance
telephone was changed at the last moment and the message was transmitted by
telegraph by direct wire from Washington to the Exposition grounds, and was
received on the speaker's platform by Mr. W.W. Umstead of the Western Union
Telegraph Co. and read by Governor Silas A. Holcomb, governor of Nebraska, as

The cordiality of the invitation extended to me to be present at the opening of
your great exposition is deeply appreciated and I more deeply regret that
public duties prevent me from leaving the capital at this time.

The events of the memorable half century which the Trans-Mississippi and
International Exposition commemorates are interwoven with the history of the
whole nation, and are of surpassing importance.  The mighty west affords most
striking evidences of the splendid achievements and possibilities of our
people.  It is a matchless tribute to the energy and endurance of the pioneer,
while its vast agricultural development, its progress in manufactures it
advancement in the arts and sciences and in all departments of education and
endeavor have been inestimable contributions to the civilization and wealth of
the world.

Nowhere have the unconquerable determination, self-reliant strength and sturdy
manhood of our American citizenship been more forcibly illustrated.  In peace
or war the men and women of the west have ever been in the vanguard.  I
congratulate the management upon its magnificent enterprise and assure all who
participate in this undertaking of the deep interest which the government has
in its success.

William McKinley.

Governor Holcomb then addressed the multitude as follows:

This occasion, the day and the hour, will ever remain memorable in the history
of the transmississippi country.  It marks a most interesting event in the
history of this commonwealth and measures a step forward in the progress of our
great republic.  To the people of Nebraska, the ceremonies attending the
opening of the Transmississippi and International Exposition are freighted with
special personal interests of the most impressive character.

This day has been anxiously awaited by every patriotic citizen of the state. 
The inception and successful inauguration of an enterprise, so grand in its
scope and fraught, as we believe it is, with so much good to the present and
future generations, is gratifying alike to all.  An exposition denoting the
ever advancing civilization of the present age, and by a people inhabiting over
one-half of the area of the United States and comprising over one-third of its
population, held within the boundaries of our great commonwealth, is an honor
and distinction gratifying to our state pride, and for which all Nebraskans are
duly appreciative.  For five months it will be the great pleasure, as well as a
high privilege, for our people to extend with welcome hands and warm hearts a
hospitable greeting to the people of all portions of our common country, and to
those from other lands who may participate in or visit this magnificent
display.  We cordially invite all to visit us and view the evidences of the
marvelous progress made by the people of the great west in the material
advancement in the industries, arts and sciences; to learn of the wonderful and
inexhaustible resources of a country which in extent forms an empire and whose
unparalleled resources when utilized can be made to bless and make happy
millions of mankind who may in this vast domain find innumerable opportunities
for the establishment of prosperous homes.

Here, gathered by the energy, industry and ingenuity of man, will be found the
products of land and sea, of farm and field, of factory and mine, all giving
evidence of the wonderful richness of a country yet only partially developed,
and displaying the marvelous progress made by its citizens in keeping step with
the grand march of civilization throughout the world.  The spirit of progress
and philanthropy in the upbuilding of an industrial empire in our midst,
displayed upon every hand, must challenge the admiration and solicit unstinted
praise from all who shall visit us and behold what has been accomplished by
these people in scarce one-half century of labor.  These are the evidences of
the intelligent and well directed efforts of a people who, with a courage that
is undaunted and a faith that is undismayed, have wrested from nature's
primeval conditions this beautiful land, and established a civilization that
will forever bless mankind.

This great exposition celebrates and commemorates no important epoch in the
history of the country.  It is an epoch in itself.  It has grown and assumed
shape and form as an expression of the desires of a people to celebrate the
development of the resources of a country, the result of their own struggles,
labors and final triumphs.  It is grander and far more reaching in its scope
than the celebration of some anniversary in our country's history.  It
emphasizes and makes comprehensive the accomplishments of an intelligent,
progressive people toward a higher civilization.  It is a composite picture of
the growth of a people made during the early years of settlement in a new and
untried country.  It is befitting that as the nineteenth century is drawing to
a close, with its fruitage of the manifold blessings which have been showered
upon the people of the earth during its reign, that we of the western and newer
half, of the American republic, should take an inventory of the stock of great
riches of which we are possessed in order that we may thereby be the better
enabled to assume the duties and responsibilities and to solve the problems of
the advancement of the human race that come crowding upon us with the dawning
of the twentieth century.

With the force of a proverb it has been said of man "Know Thyself"; and with
greater emphasis may it be declared, "Know they country."  Study its structure
as formed by divine hands.  Know its rivers and mountains, its forests and
prairies, its valleys and plains, its climate and soil.  Learn of its hidden
treasures of gold and silver, of coal and iron; its productive fields of grain
and grasses, of vegetables and fruits, its plains of rich grazing for horses,
cattle and sheep.  Inform yourself of the cities and towns, of telegraphs and
telephones, of railroads and steamboats, of the ever pulsing arteries of
commerce, the facilities for exchange of the products of man's ingenuity and
industry, and a faint conception will be gained of the present greatness and
future possibilities of this magnificent transmississippi country.

As this beautiful exposition city, with its thousands of exhibits representing
every branch of industry, pleasing to the eye and inspiring to the mind, has
sprung into existence in so short a period as if by magic, so has the
transmississippi country developed during the last half century with marvelous
rapidity.  This has been accomplished by the courage and untiring energy of
those who have peopled its broad domains.  The evidences here witnessed of the
advancement of the people and the development of the country's resources
inspire within us a spirit of thankfulness that God has given us so goodly a
land, to be made beautiful and to fructify for the enjoyment and benefit of

Though young in years, we of the west ask no allowance on the score of age, but
challenge investigation and comparison with improvements made by countries of
maturer years, confident that no unfavorable impression of us will result
therefrom.  In this hour of festivity and rejoicing we are not unmindful that
it is also a time of trial for the nation.  Loyal citizens from every section
of the country have sprung to arms in defense of national honor, in the cause
of humanity.  Sectional lines have been obliterated in the face of threatened
danger from foreign foes.  A reunited people are fighting side by side under
the stars and stripes, the banner of liberty and progress.

Amidst these marvelous collections of our triumphs in the peaceful pursuits of
life we hope it may again be demonstrated that "peace hath her victories no
less renowned than war" and that our countrymen of the east may meet us here in
this midway city of the continent, learn of our progress in the past, our
aspirations and high aims, our hopes for the future and the integrity of our
purpose and determination to contribute to a better civilization in developing
this great country and to attain the high destiny designed for us by the Maker
of the Universe.

President Wattles then announced that the machinery of the Exposition would be
set in motion by President McKinley, and the exercise closed by the singing of
the National Hymn, "America", by the Exposition Chorus and the audience,
accompanied by the U.S. Marine Band.

The entire audience joined in the singing, and amid the blowing of whistles,
ringing of bells, and the song of the enthusiastic thousands, the
Transmississippi and International Exposition was formally declared open to the

Scene in Washington

The following excerpt from one of the wires from Washington, pictures the scene
at the White House at the hour of official opening.

"Conditions were well nigh perfect when, at 1:30 o'clock today, Washington
time, corresponding to 12:30 Omaha, time, President McKinley pushed the button,
formally opening the Transmississippi and International Exposition.  Around the
chief executive were grouped many of the foremost men in public life, men who
have been moulding public opinion for a quarter of a century.  It was an
inspiring scene, this culmination of many anxious moments, of personal
sacrifice on the part of those who have given time and money to so gigantic an
undertaking that out of it all might come a better appreciation of the forces
dominating that vast territory which extends from the Mississippi river to the
Pacific Ocean, from the frigid north to the Gulf of Mexico.  In his short term
in the presidential chair Major McKinley has shown patriotic devotion to the
whole country and wherever possible in his active, busy life has lent his
presence and his help to enterprises of both local and national character.

It has been the intention of officials connected with the Transmississippi
Exposition, to have the president deliver his address through the long distance
telephone, but being fearful that some slip might occur, the president decided
to rely on the telegraph and especially as he was not accustomed to use the
telephone since his term as president began.  In order to conform to the
arrangements, the hour of formally recognizing the Transmississippi and
International Exposition as open, was deferred until 1:30 o'clock, at which
time there was assembled in the president's reception room the following
distinguished party:  Senators Allen and Thurston, Representatives Mercer,
Stark, Sutherland, Maxwell and Greene, Mrs. Sutherland and daughter, Mrs.
Greene and daughters, Mr. Bert Wheeler, Representative Fleming of Georgia,
Representative Johns of North Dakota, and Senator W.B. Allison of Iowa.

Considerable delay was experienced by Captain Montgomery in getting a wire out
of Chicago and direct to the Exposition grounds, but finally the welcome sound
"Omaha" came to the alert telegrapher and there were flashed these words by

This is the White House, Washington.  When this key closes, the President will
close it.

"Everything is ready, Mr. President," said Captain Montgomery, and the chief
executive, gracious in manner, stepped to the key of the instrument, and
depressing it with his right hand, closed the circuit.  Those in the room stood
during this ceremony, of little interest to laymen, but of greater interest to
those gathered in the cool reception room - and at 1:53 o'clock, Washington
time, the president announced that his part of the ceremony was over, and the
exposition was formally opened.

There was clapping of hands and congratulations and thanks showered upon the
executive for his patience and affability and taking so much time from the
affairs of the nation to give the Transmississippi Exposition the benefit of
his benediction and good wishes.  Immediately after the pressure upon the
button, the president's message of congratulation was sent, which was followed
by congratulatory telegrams of the Nebraska delegation, terminating a most
auspicious occasion for Omaha and the west.

Immediately after the congratulatory wire of the president had been sent, and
indication given from Omaha that so far as the president was concerned, his
work had been done, executive clerk Montgomery sent the following wire to
President Wattles:  

The members of the Nebraska delegation assembled in the executive mansion, beg
leave to extend their congratulations upon this auspicious beginning of so vast
an enterprise as the Transmississippi and International Exposition, and regret
their inability to be present, and to personally participate in its

William V. Allen              Samuel Maxwell
J.M. Thurston                 W.A. Stark
D.H. Mercer                   R.D. Sutherland
W.L. Greene

Following the exercises of formal opening, the official guests were entertained
at luncheon in the Markel Cafe.

At four o'clock an official public reception was held in the United States
Government building at the west end of the main porch.

At eight o'clock P.M. a concert was given in the auditorium by the Theodore
Thomas Orchestra, assisted by the Exposition chorus.

At nine o'clock P.M. a grand illumination of fire works was given in the north
tract, east of the agricultural implement building, and thus the first day of
the Exposition passed into history.

The Transmississippi and International Exposition was the first of American
expositions to open its gates on the day originally set for opening and the
first to have its main buildings completed and its exhibits practically
installed on opening day.  But it early became evident that something besides
the attractions of the beautiful grounds and buildings and exhibits, was
necessary to insure a large attendance.  Splendid instrumental music by the
United States Marine band and other bands of national repute had been secured. 
The Theodore Thomas Orchestra had been engaged for daily concerts during the
month of June, but besides these some special attractions were early planned by
the president to arouse and hold constant attendance and interest.  Special
days were set aside for states, cities and societies, and every possible
occasion was used as an excuse for special rates from the railroads.

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