There is one particular mode, indeed, by which the arts are especially enabled to be the means of producing very important and direct moral effects upon a nation ; and that is by the powerful and exciting descriptions which they afford of great events that have occurred, and by animating the minds of the people, and inspiring them with noble sentiments with regard to these transactions. Art serves also as the most efficient agent for recording occurrences of this character, from the dignified and impressive mode in which it accomplishes its purpose, by which the remembrance of the event is retained in a suitable manner, and with a force and importance calculated to se-cure its permanence. In fact, it is this quality of nobleness and grandeur which characterizes some events, that confers on works of art also the highest qualities. It behoves, there-fore, that the transactions themselves should be represented with becoming dignity, and that the medium of representation should be duly qualified for attaining this end, And if great events of national importance are to be nationally recorded, it is also of consequence that this should be done in a manner the most sublime and impressive, and which art alone can enable us adequately to effect. Indeed, without the aid of art, these occurrences cannot be so suitably or so efficiently portrayed, whether we regard the various media afforded for this purpose by the different arts, or the general application of art to any description of this kind.
Painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, eloquence, and also music, are alike applicable in this respect. The two former record in intelligible characters, and in the most striking manner, the events themselves, which the three last are employed to eulogize, and to excite our sympathies and our passions in their contemplation. But whichever of the arts is resorted to, the same effect is produced on the mind as regards the sentiments that are inspired. Painting, sculpture, and architecture are, moreover, each of essential service as affording the best, most perfect, and most durable records which we possess of the histories of past nations, and of the most important parts of these histories, in the social and moral condition of the people. The paintings of Pompeii, the sculptures of Greece and of Nineveh, and the architectural remains throughout the world, may be appealed to here.
The national poetry and music of every country as historical records, independent of their refining power, are by all allowed to be of the utmost value, and to possess the most extensive influence on the character of its inhabitants.
It is of the highest importance that the feelings of the people c of every country should be duly directed and called forth with respect to the great national events in its history, which have very extensive influence, both in the formation and development of the national character. The inculcation of a sentiment of national honour in a State is of the utmost consequence; and, as in the case of an individual, is one of the surest guarantees for rectitude and good conduct. In this respect, the national history of a State, and the preservation in remembrance of the deeds of glory and honourable traits which adorn it, is of essential value. A nation which has no renown of its own, and no honourable name of this nature to maintain, is of all countries the most in danger of degrading itself by some act of the State below its proper dignity. The continued reference to the glory of their name, had the highest national influence both in Greece and Rome.