An Independent New Spain
Unrest at the News from Spain
On June 21, 1808, the ship Corza anchored in the harbor of Vera Cruz with news of the abdication of Ferdinand VII in favor of Joseph Bonaparte and the departure of the Spanish royal family into imprisonment in France. Two days later, the news was known in Mexico.
News of the Bourbon dethronement arrived just as Mexico was preparing for the festivities accompanying the swearing of allegiance to King Ferdinand after his father's abdication, and the news that the new king had abdicated in favor of a creature of Napoleon was disturbing. When official reports confirming the news were received from Madrid on July 14, the Viceroy of New Spain, Jose de Iturrigaray y Arostegui, convened the Royal Audiencia; the Audiencia resolved that the decrees of no government other than that of the Bourbon dynasty would be obeyed.
Jose de Iturrigaray y Arostegui
After the initial shock of the dethronement of the king had worn off, public opinion on the new state of affairs entered a stage of puzzlement and confusion. New Spain was without a king, and the manner in which this had been accomplished weakened respect for the institution of the monarchy. The few with republican sympathies saw in the convulsions that were certain to overtake Spain an opportunity for independence from their overlords in Madrid. The more discerning of these kept quiet; the despotic instrument of the Inquisition maintained its power, and the first few months after the abdication of Ferdinand saw an increase in arrests and trials for various "impieties".
Initial Proposal of the Municipal Government of Mexico
In many ways, Jose de Iturrigaray remains a mysterious figure to history. Some historians ascribe to him liberal and republican views well in advance of his time, while others call him a petty and scheming bureaucrat whose only quarrel with despotism was that he was not at the apex of power in New Spain. A balanced view suggests that he was neither; it is most likely that he believed that the inhabitants of New Spain would be better off if they were governed benevolently by the local elites, himself included, instead of Spanish administrators and taxmen whose only concern was how full the royal coffers in Madrid were.
On July 19, the municipal government of Mexico presented a petition to Iturrigaray, insisting that as the government of New Spain had devolved upon the people because the throne of Spain had been usurped, the metropolis of Mexico would uphold the rights of the Bourbons. It concluded with a request for Iturrigaray to provisionally assume the government of New Spain upon his swearing an oath to neither submit to the rule of Joseph Bonaparte nor surrender to another power. He affirmed that he would protect the country to his dying breath, and that he was prepared to take the required oath.
Later that day, Iturrigaray presented the petition before the Royal Audiencia. They regarded the municipal government with contempt, composed as it was of creoles, and were rightly suspicious of the Viceroy's intentions. The Audiencia summarily rejected the petition out of hand as being "contrary to the law and the public welfare". Thus was Iturrigaray's first attempt at wresting control of the government of New Spain frustrated.
The Real Audiencia de Mexico today.
News of the Uprising Against Bonaparte
Following the defeat of his proposal, Iturrigaray declared his intention to resign. He was easily dissuaded from this by his friends, who insisted that New Spain would fall into chaos if the official executive were to be abandoned, leaving no one in charge. One of the city's two alcaldes, Villa Urrutia, suggested that the infante Don Pedro Carlos be invited to assume the government as regent. As this initial proposal did not meet with approval with the Royal Audiencia, he proposed that a representative congress of New Spain be called. The Audiencia rejected this plan as well, but it was indicative of events to come that the proposal was well-received throughout New Spain; even the municipal court of Vera Cruz, dominated as it was be Spanish-leaning peninsulares, saw no objection to Urrutia's proposal, and expressed their willingness to send deputies at once to the proposed congress.
The Infante of Spain and Portugal, Pedro Carlos
In the mean time, another vessel had arrived at Vera Cruz bringing the news that Spain had risen against the Bonaparte usurper. When the news reached Mexico on July 29, guns were fired and bells pealed incessantly throughout the city as Napoleon and the toadying traitor Godoy were burnt in effigy. Upwards of two thousand men spontaneously offered their services to the Viceroy on behalf of the Spanish crown. The city treasurer offered to send an exorbitant sum of millions of pesos to bribe the commander of the fortress in which the Bourbons were being held. A mining corporation offered to provide 100 pieces of field artillery at its own expense in defense of the colony.
The enthusiasm caused by hatred for the French invaders of Spain and the loyalty for an illegally-deposed royal family could have nipped the movement towards autonomy in the bud, had not Iturrigaray manipulated the Mexican crowds so deftly. He publicly praised the zeal of the city's inhabitants, but noted with an air of sad reluctance that Spain could not stand against France for long. The feeling among the general populace of the necessity of revolution was strengthened by his apparent defeatism.
The Question of Legitimate Authority
Another question soon presented itself. Should the junta at Seville which claimed to govern in the name of Ferdinand VII be recognized? Iturrigaray called a council together composed of the members of the Royal Audiencia, the municipal government of Mexico, an assortment of local judges, and the most prominent inhabitants of the city. The discussions of this council, which met on August 9, were very heated. The syndic of the municipal government, a certain Verdad, maintained the city government’s position that in the absence of a legitimate king, power devolved upon the people of New Spain; he was opposed by the Audiencia, which accused him of sedition and treason. Finally, allegiance to Ferdinand was agreed upon, and all parties present took oaths to obey no orders from Napoleon or Joseph Bonaparte and to recognize the Viceroy as the lawful monarchy’s representative in New Spain.
On August 30 two emissaries from the junta at Seville arrived at Mexico demanding recognition of its sovereignty over New Spain. The representatives from Seville seemed picked to provoke disagreement and dissatisfaction: one was a naval commander who had long been a personal enemy of Iturrigaray, while the other was his brother-in-law. Further unsettling the situation in Mexico, they announced that they were instructed to arrest Iturrigaray if he refused to comply. A council called the day after their arrival was heated. Iturriguay condemned in strong words the lack of courtesy given by the mission from Seville. A proposal by a justice of the Audiencia to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Seville junta in all matters except those of patronage was strenuously opposed by the alcalde Urrutia, and his opposition succeeded in delaying the vote long enough for the arrival of dispatches from yet another junta in Spain, that of Oviedo, which claimed royal authority to itself.
Jose Monino y Redono, 1st Count of Floridablanca and head of the Seville junta
The council was assembled by Iturrigaray once more on September 1. At this meeting, the Viceroy cautiously noted that Spain appeared to be in a state of anarchy, as all of the juntas seemed determined to claim supreme authority.  A resolution was duly passed to wait for further news.
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 The POD. In OTL, Iturrigaray was very indiscreet and hinted heavily that there was no authority, therefore, he had ultimate authority in New Spain. This caused the conspiracy against him, the Chaquetas, to expedite their efforts to overthrow him.