Biography of Pedro Francisco Novella (s. XIX)

Military, politician and Spanish colonial administrator, Viceroy of new Spain, whose dates of birth and death are unknown.

In the most serious crisis of new Spain, caused by the betrayal of the general Iturbide, in the spring of 1821, which refused to comply with instructions from the viceroy Apodaca, the hard core of the Spanish official leaned by obliging the viceroy to resign and replace it with a successor who would be able to deal with success to Iturbide and his followers. The Supreme command of the army was general Pascual Liñán, the winner of Javier Mina, currently Deputy Inspector-general of infantry, dragons and militia and Chief of the armies of the South, but he refused to accept the proposal of the official entreated, so the responsibility fell on the field marshal Francisco Novella, Deputy Inspector general of the Corps of artillery and interim military Governor of the city of Mexico, from June 15, 1821.

5 July, under pressure from all sides, from the Creole Liberals, who accused him of opposing the constitutional precepts, until more absolutist groups, which censored its warmth and moderation, Viceroy Apodaca accepted the demands of the official rioters. These, under the command of officer Fancisco Buceli of the regiment of the Infante don Carlos, accompanied by other bodies of troops, arrested their top bosses, marched through the streets of the capital and raided the Viceregal Palace. Apodaca, in letter to the Minister of war, dated in November 1821, stated that whole plot had been inspired by the Novella.

Apparently, Novella had felt mistreated by the refusal of the King to grant him the Grand Cross of the military order of San Hermenegildo, had requested at the beginning of 1820 as the culmination of a long career military orders of the viceroy Apodaca, since his arrival in New Spain in 1816. It was clear that he believed destined to become the Savior of military honor and responsibility for redirect destinations of new Spain. A few months earlier, in March 1821, it had promoted with other officials the publication and dissemination of manifestos against the betrayal of Iturbide, in which realistic military declared his allegiance to the Constitution and its adherence to the viceroy, in defense of the established Government.

In the midst of the confusion caused by the coup of July 5, both the City Council and the provincial Council, popularly elected, refused to grant a Novella titles which it claimed, so in a gesture of defiance and pride, the general vowed three days later, in the halls of Palacio, as viceroy of new Spain. It was an act of blatant illegality, since the only valid constitutional titles at that time were the Chief politician and General captain. It is the second "coup" occurred in New Spain, after the removal of the viceroy Iturrigaray.

The first Novella was the creation of a military Junta, headed by himself and in which, according to the historian Anna, each battalion was represented by an official elected by the troop, who took the reins of Government and set out to prepare the city for a predictable siege by insurgent forces. July 8 Novella published a manifesto aimed at the entire population, which recognized that "the days are dangerous and critical circumstances". It warned about the insidious propaganda of the enemy and the need to oppose the discouraged and defection. Actually, most of the troops left the city and went to the armies of Iturbide.

Very soon began to publish decrees and camps of all kinds: suspicious meetings, political discussions, were banned carrying weapons or distributing seditious publications. General mobilization order came a few days later, with the call to the service to all men to sixty years of age and, for the first time, without that it would be compulsory to wear uniform. In a desperate effort to gain popular support, at the end of July were printed two proclamations, "to the Spaniards" and "to the selfish", that is remembered their obligations. Comparing the situation of Spain against Napoleon with the Mexico against Iturbide, to request the Spanish participation in "the war against betrayal, cowardice and selfishness," until victory or death. To the "selfish of all kinds", were told that their criminal conduct had not gone unnoticed to the Government: "I see with horror that some have been absent from the capital, to go to live in other cities; others are hidden in their homes and that others have been passed to the enemy." Who not came to the aid of the Government would be treated as prisoners of treason and condemned to eternal perdition because they would not be considered human beings.

All the efforts of Novella by getting support were futile and both City Hall and the bodies of engineers or owners citizens, refused repeatedly to provide resources or to work in the defence of the capital works. The Metropolitan Church, however, agreed to make a novena to the Virgin de los Remedios, which took place from July 30 to August 7, to beg divine support to the forces of the King.

The advance of the troops of Iturbide, the taking of the city of Puebla on August 3 and, especially, the arrival at Veracruz's new political Chief and captain general don Juan O' Donojú, appointed by the Spanish courts, placed the Novella in an unbearable situation, which resisted until September 13, when he handed his powers directly to O' Donojú, in the vicinity of the Basilica of Guadalupe. In the accountability agreement got to be allowed to retire at Veracruz, with officers and soldiers who wished to follow him. He moved to the city of Havana in mid-October.


ANNA, T. e. "Francisco Novella and the the stand of the Royal Army in New Spain". Hispanic American Historical Review. LI. 1. 1971.

-: The fall of the Spanish Government in the city of Mexico. FCE. Mexico, 1981.BUSTAMANTE, C.M. historical picture of the Mexican Revolution. (reprint) FCE. Mexico, 1961.

ZARATE, J. The war of independence. In Mexico through the centuries. Volume III. Mexico, 1951.

M. Ortuño