The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944

Book Reviews

The Sword Was Their Passport: A History of American Fili-
bustering in the Mexican Revolution. By Harris Gaylord
Warren. Baton Rouge (Louisiana State University Press),
1943. Pp. ix, 286. $3.00.
The sword has been the passport of soldiers on many occa-
sions and in many periods of history, and hence the main title
of this book fits the filibusters and plotters of this excellent
treatise no better than it would fit many others whose main
interest in life has been the same. The subtitle is, however,
really descriptive of the contents of this book.
The discussion covers slightly less than a decade of time, that
is, from 1812 to 1821. It encompasses the work of a number of
major filibusters with whom were associated certain less im-
portant men, all of whom, it may be surmised, regarded their
work as very important. The majors of the story, dispensing
with their given names and titles, were Gutierrez, Magee,
Alvarez de Toledo, Humbert, the Lafitte brothers (consistently
spelled Laffite in this book, except in a few footnote references),
Aury, Herrera, Mina, Lallemand, and Long. The minors in-
cluded such men as Dr. John Hamilton Robinson, Juan Mariano
Picornell, Reuben Ross, Samuel Kemper, Henry Perry, General
Iren6e Amdlot de Lacroix, Vincent Gambi, Arsine Lacarrire
Latour, Bartholom6 Lafon, John K. West, E. W. Ripley, John
Austin, and Isaac T. Preston. The list is very long. Nathaniel
Coggswell, Samuel Alden, Jean Jacques Paillette, Pierre Girard,
the Frenchman Caliavette, William Prentiss, John Sibley, and
many others appear, it seems to me, in roles among the less
important group. Many New Orleans merchants, anxious for
possible profit to be derived from these expeditions, plots, and
counterplots, frequently encouraged the main and minor actors;
and the New Orleans associates, a group in which "membership
was contingent upon occasional cooperation in enterprises that
ranged from smuggling to outright piracy" (119, n. 2), in-
cluded some interesting men.
Against the filibusters, their many associates, and their many
plans Don Luis de Onis, the Spanish minister to the United
States, had to be constantly on the alert. One wonders that he
had time for anything else. Certainly the book is replete with
the reports which de Onis made to the American State Depart-
ment during the administrations of Madison and Monroe con-
cerning the filibusters and their plans to attack and free at least
a part of the Spanish monarch's possessions. In this phase of

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed April 17, 2014.