Reviews of Books

HUGH E. EGERTON
1899 English Historical Review  
THE appearance of the second volume of Mr. Payne's viagnum opus requires a word of welcome, although the greater portion of it does not treat of history in the narrower meaning of the term. While it is' becoming generally recognised that history must have its roots deeply laid in the preliminary sciences of anthropology and ethnology it is not often that a single writer combines the encyclopaedic knowledge of Mr. Payne. The professed ' Americanists ' in this country, who might claim to
more » ... t claim to criticise the particular conclusions arrived at in this very learned book, are probably few and far between. A much wider circle of readers can attest the convincing character of Mr. Payne's arguments, the vigour of bis style, and the value of his general reflexions. Continuing from the first volume the evolution of primitive society, the author, who had already defined the first two stages in social advancement, viz. (1) the substitution of an artificial for a natural basis of subsistence, and (2) the establishment of the gods as the principal members of the community, adds the third, viz. ' the creation within the community of an industrial class, in subordination to a nonindustrial class, which directs and protects it.' ' The covenant of the people, " Spend me and defend me," contains the germ of all political relations. . . Only in the latest stage of history does it become obsolete, when the people have become strong enough to refuse to be spent, and are able to provide for their defence by spending wealth, which has now become their own.' A considerable portion of the volume is taken tip by an elaborate discussion of the origin and progress of language. According to the view here put forward language arose out of the expression of personality, and the holophrasis, or single long and irregular word, preceded the sentence. Grammatical language is produced by the expansion and disruption of the holophrase. Personalisation, generalisation, and abstraction may be considered as representing those successive stages of the temple reared to thought out of the materials provided by language. Interjections represent crude or imperfectly wrought masses, strewing the forecourt, which surrounds the edifice; personal nouns represent the foundations, general nouns the substantial walls and complicated arcades, rising tier above tier to form the body of the structure; abstract nouns the domes, pinnacles, and battlements which crown it. Interjections, again, are fundamentally indistinguishable from animal cries; they represent the language of man's brute ancestor. Personalisation, gaining ground, perhaps, through thousands of forgotten years, moulded the language of savagery. Generalisation, slowly dispersing the mist of personality, and opening the mental eye to the permanent attributes of things, conducted man from the higher savagery to the lower barbarism. Abstraction, originating in the higher savagery, heralds the final stages of advancement; its development belongs to civilisation, to the ages of mature art and exact science.
doi:10.1093/ehr/xiv.lv.594 fatcat:m73x74pbnvczlly3cygdev6vy4