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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

schools through most of the I870os, founded three colleges, and established a
creative literary tradition. They also developed an elaborate social life
around their churches, social clubs, and a rich, partially African, musical
heritage, although some distinctions existed on the basis of class and cultural
differences. Negro benevolent associations helped fight the health and pov-
erty problems which lay behind a higher crime rate. Blassingame describes
some integration in public facilities, but suggests New Orleans race relations
probably remained more flexible than those in other southern cities.
In part because of differences in available sources and in part by choice,
Blassingame is more limited on politics, migration, and residential conditions,
but more thorough on family life and education than previous studies of
black urbanization. Apparently the limitations of his sources also kept him
from employing some of the statistical methods developed by modern urban
historians. Yet these limitations should not obscure the importance of this
diligently researched and well illustrated volume.
Texas Tech University ALWYN BARR
Wilderness Manhunt: The Spanish Search for La Salle. By Robert S.
Weddle. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973. Pp. xiv+29 I. Illu-
strations, bibliography, index. $8.50.)
The saga of the Sieur de la Salle's last expedition is a familiar one that is
still intriguing because of its drama and long-range consequences. From the
French point of view the expedition was a dismal failure. La Salle was mur-
dered by his own men, and his colony quickly fell victim to wilderness haz-
ards. But the effort was significant in inverse ratio to its failure. Because of
it Thomas Jefferson over a century later could claim that the Louisiana
Purchase extended to the Rio Grande; the Democrats still later could cam-
paign for the "reannexation of Texas"; and Texans of the twentieth century
could count the French flag among those that had flown over their state.
The expedition also had more immediate consequences, and it is upon
those that this book focuses. Rumors of the French intrusion in Spanish
territory set off alarms in Mexico and prompted authorities to send no less
than eleven expeditions-five by sea and six by land-to search out the
intruders. When the site of the colony was at last discovered, all threat to
Spanish sovereignty had vanished, but the search had resulted in a more
detailed knowledge of Spain's wilderness empire.
Robert S. Weddle leaves to others speculations about La Salle's motives,
destination, and death. Instead he concentrates on the Spanish reactions to
La Salle, tracing each of the searching expeditions from its inception to its


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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