Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

Search library resources
Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Excerpt from the Flag Day address by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay

Given June 14, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition

U.S. Secretary of State John Hay

John Hay, Secretary of State. Photo Credit: Doubleday, Page & Co. Source: The World's Work, v.2, no.6 (October 1901) p. 1242.

"I am inclined to think that perhaps the waiters and waitresses and some of the rest might be better employed in exchanging ideas among themselves than in listening to the few words that I shall be able to say.

Last night, as I looked from my window at this marvelous creation, lined in fire upon the evening sky, and today as I have walked through the courts and the palaces of this incomparable exhibition, the words of the prophet have been constantly in my mind - Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. We who are old have through many hopeful years dreamed this dream. It was noble, inspiring, leading to earnest and uplifting labor. This ideal of the brotherhood of the nations of the Western World is not a growth of yesterday. It was heralded when the country was young by the clarion voice of Henry Clay. It was cherished by Seward and Evarts, by Douglas and by Blaine. Twelve years ago we had the first reunion of the two American republics. Much was said and done, destined to be memorable in our history, opening and blazing the way along the path of peace and fraternal relations….

As a means to those ends, as a concrete realization of those generous dreams which have led us thus far, we have this grand and beautiful spectacle, never to be forgotten, a delight to the eyes, a comfort to every patriot heart that during the coming summer shall make the joyous pilgrimage to this enchanted scene, where lake and shore and sky, the rich, bright city throbbing with vigorous life, and in the distance the flash and roar of the stupendous cataract, unite their varied attractions in one charm of powerful magic such as the world has seldom seen ….

All the triumphs of the spirit and of the skilled hands of labor, the garnered treasures of science, the witcheries of art, the spoils of earth and air and sea are gathered here to warn, to delight, to encourage and reward the ever-striving, the indomitable mind of man. Here you have force, which enables men to conquer and tame the powers of nature. Wealth, not meant as Tennyson sang, to rest in moulded heaps, but smit with the free light to melt and fatten lower lands. Beauty, not for selfish gratification of the few, but for the joy of the many to fill their days with gladness and their nights with music. And hovering over all the sublime, the well-nigh divine conception of a brotherhood of mutually helpful nations, fit harbinger and forerunner of a brotherhood of man...

Every great achievement in art, in science, in commerce communicates to the universal human spirit a salutary shock which in ever-widening circles spreads to regions the most remote and obscure, to break at last in lingering ripples on the ultimate shores of space and time. Out of a good source evil cannot flow, out of the light darkness cannot be born. The benignant influences that shall emanate from this great festival of peace shall not be bounded by oceans nor by continents."