Page:The autobiography of a Pennsylvanian.djvu/454

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executive exercises his authority. It is a concrete manifestation of the importance and power of the state and an expression of its artistic development. Intelligent observers, who look upon the structure and examine the proportions, the arrangements and the ornamentation, are enabled to divine at what stage in the advance of civilization the people have arrived and to determine with sufficient accuracy what have been their achievements in the past and what are their aspirations for the future.

The commission charged with the duty of erecting this capitol and those who have had responsibility in connection with it have felt that in architecture and appointments the outcome ought to be worthy of the commonwealth. They have not forgotten the essential and unique relation which Pennsylvania has borne in the development of our national life; that in her first capitol the Government of the United States had its birth; that during ten years of the early and uncertain existence of that government she gave it a home; that since its origin what has ever been accepted as the “Pennsylvania idea” has been the dominant political principle of its administration; and that its present unparalleled material prosperity rests finally in large measure upon the outcome of her furnaces and mines. Nor have they forgotten that the thought of William Penn, enunciated over two centuries ago, and rewritten around the dome of this capitol, has become the fundamental principle of our National Constitution, acknowledged now by all men as axiomatic truth.

There is a sermon which the many Americans who hie hither in the future years to study chaste art, expressed in form, as today they go to the Parthenon and St. Peter's, to the cathedrals of Antwerp and Cologne, will be enabled to read in these stones of polished marble and hewn granite. When Moses set out to build “an altar under the hill and twelve pillars,” he, beforehand, “wrote all the words of the Lord.” Let us take comfort in the belief that in like manner this massive and beautiful building, which we have in our later time erected, will be for an example and inspiration to all of the people, encouraging them in pure thoughts and inciting them to worthy deeds. Let us bear in mind the injunction of the far-seeing founder of the province, which made it indeed, as he hoped, the seed of a nation — “that we may do the thing that is truly wise and just.”

On behalf of the commonwealth, as its chief executive, I accept this capitol and now, with pride, with faith and with hope, I dedicate it to the public use and to the purposes for which it was designed and constructed.