The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 78
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the first week of November, 1815,8 the plans to establish a
port, attack Tampico, and invade Texas promised to be carried
out, much to the dismay of His Majesty's loyal representatives
and their assistants.
Prominent among King Ferdinand's vassals in New Orleans
was Juan Mariano Picornell. This precursor of the Spanish-
American revolutionists had wearied of his uncertain career.
On February 12, 1814, he had gone before Father Antonio de
Sedella and signed a petition for pardon.9 While the Spanish
government was considering this petition from one of its most
literary enemies, the Spanish minister to the United States,
Don Luis de Onis, commissioned Picornell to report the activ-
ities of the filibusters and to propose plans to destroy them.'
In the succeeding months Picornell rendered good service as a
spy for Spain. But when Alvarez de Toledo returned from
Boquilla with the minister de Herrera, he felt the need of
assistance to cope with the extensive intrigue that he knew
was under way. In his plight he decided on a bold stroke, that
of recruiting Pierre Laffite for the service of Spain. His success
in this endeavor is revealed in the following documents. Laffite,
the smuggler, slave-runner, and owner of privateersmen, be-
came a spy in the service of Spain. The value of his services
was not over-estimated by the jubilant de Sedella and Picornell.
His first demands seemed moderate: a pardon for himself and
two others," safety for two vessels in case of capture by Spain,
and other compensation proportioned to the services he might
render. De Sedella and Picornell promised that Pierre's re-
quests would be granted and the Chevalier de Onis confirmed
the promise.'" No matter what the outcome of the arrange-
ment might be, Picornell apparently succeeded in executing a
No. 1 of the following documents is the covering despatch
from Captain-General de Apodaca to Francisco Vallesteros.
Enclosures 2 and 3, mentioned in this despatch, are not espe-
8Morphy to de Apodaca, New Orleans, November 20, 1815, AGI, PC, leg.
1836; de Herrera to the Mexican Congress, New Orleans, November 9,
1815, AGN ND, I, if. 92-93.
9Enclosure in de Sedella to Morphy, New Orleans, July 10, 1814, Archivo
Hist6rico Nacional (Madrid), Estado, legajo 5558, expediente 12.
"oDe Onis to Picornell, Philadelphia, August 8, 1815, ibid.
"His brother Jean and Laurent Maire, captain of the Dos Hermanos.
"De Onis to the Viceroy, Washington, January 8, 1816, AGN ND, I, f. 61.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/86/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.