JESUS F. DE LA TEJA, Editor
The Rumble of a Distant Drum: The Quapaws and Old World Newcomers, I673-I804. By
Morris S. Arnold. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000. Pp.
xxi+23o. Maps and illustrations, preface, introduction, appendix, notes, bib-
liography, index. ISBN 1-55728-59o0-X. $35.00, cloth).
Quapaws could wish no more distinguished advocate than jurist Morris Arnold,
who is a dedicated scholar of colonial Arkansas history. Concerned that his earli-
er books and articles failed to convey the "real story" of Arkansas Post and the In-
dian complexities of that pivotal frontier, Arnold resolved to remedy that
shortfall. In particular, he searched the Papeles de Cuba from Spain's Archivo de
Indias and studied pertinent artifacts at the Mus6e de l'Homme in Paris. He also
developed a mutually rewarding rapport with the understandably appreciative
Arnold has spared no effort to conjure up the Arkansas Post community that
evolved from the French outpost established in the 167os among Quapaw villages
clustered near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. His premis-
es and conclusions, clearly stated on pages xvi-xix and 150-154, verge on being
so tendentious as to detract from the import 6f his result.
An extended discussion of intermarriage among Quapaws and French denizens
around the Arkansas Post labors the obvious. However, much informative data ap-
pears, e.g., incidence of infectious diseases (especially smallpox); specifics of
trade goods; and details of the changing export markets for animal products
shipped from Arkansas Post. Particularly cogent is Arnold's treatment of Quapaw
response to the post-1763 transitions from French to Spanish authority in
Louisiana and English authority in the neighboring Illinois jurisdiction.
Already dangerously addicted to the staple liquors of the French, the Quapaw
made alcohol their price for cooperation with either the Spanish at the Arkansas
Post or the English across the river in Illinois. Nevertheless, they strove mightily to
check ever-increasing Osage incursions into the Arkansas and Red River basins,
and also ventured into some Cis-Mississippi tribal conflicts.
By 1804, cumulative ravages of alcohol and intertribal wars had left the Quapaw
extremely vulnerable to the impact of the new republic of the United States. It
would be interesting to see Arnold's judicious analysis of Quapaw experience with
an advancing Anglo-American frontier awash in corn whiskey.
Elizabeth A. H. John
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed March 17, 2014.