According to Wikipedia's Pablo Mordillo entry,
When Morillo ordered the execution of the Colombian scientist Francisco José de Caldas (known as El Sabio Caldas, "Wise Caldas") and the people present at the place appealed for the life of the scientist, Morillo responded: "Spain does not need wise people."
Could he have been mis-quoted or misunderstood?
English example: I once referred to a colleague by saying, "On a good day, he is a wise man, and on a bad day, he is a "wise guy." In American English, a "wise guy" is a jokester or "sabelotodo," the kind of person who enrages the teacher or other authorities.
Could Morillo have said the Spanish equivalent of "Spain does not need wise guys (e.g. revolutionaries), and have been misunderstood to mean, "Spain does not need wise people?"