It's interesting to see the at first absent-minded and outdoorsy prince Theo learning to be a capable if still somewhat naive statesman, while king Federico, who as a rebel general and prince showed little greatness but was quietly competent and uncontroversial, becomes paranoid and distrustful of even those closest to him.In any case, the resulting “deal” was not well-received by the king. Paoli’s counsel, in this case, was flawed, for he had allowed the prince to make the mistake of negotiating in secret. When Theo presented the proposal to his father, including a ministerial reshuffle and the allocation of more authority to Matra, Federico perceived it not as a friendly proposal but a hostile ultimatum. He had never authorized his son to negotiate with Matra, whom the king still suspected was conspiring against him, and was furious that Matra would presume any role in deciding who ought to be a minister in the king’s government. Matra, in turn, seems to have been under the mistaken impression that Theo had the full confidence of the king and that royal approval was a mere formality. With this assumption, he had already ordered Count Innocenzo di Mari, the Minister of War, to mobilize the Foot Regiment. Don Alerio may have thought he was merely being proactive and holding up his end of the bargain, but the king interpreted this as a further threat and a usurpation of his own power.
The traditional account maintains that a real breach was only averted by Queen Elisabetta, who hated to see her husband and son at odds and convinced Federico to accept his son’s proposal. Some (perhaps most) credit may also be due to the king’s bodyguard and trusted confidant, Sir David Murray, who opined that any concessions made to Matra now could always be “revisited” once Fabiani and the Niolesi had been put in their places. Either way, the king reluctantly accepted Theo’s terms, but he never forgave his son for “betraying” him. As Federico saw it, Theo had gone behind his back, sided with Matra against the interests of the crown, and then handed him an unfavorable agreement as a fait accompli while Matra seized control of the army without royal consent. It was a soft coup, but a coup nonetheless, and one which had been supported by his own son and heir.
With the political crisis momentarily resolved, the government could now bring its full attention to the Balagna. Marquis Matra proposed to lead an expedition himself, perhaps hoping to repeat his success in crushing the filogenovesi of Fiumorbo during the Revolution. The king, however, was not having it. It was bad enough that he had been forced to make concessions to Matra; he was not putting him in personal command of an army as well. The prince put it more diplomatically, explaining to the marquis that, as prime minister, military command was no longer in his job description. Instead, four companies of the Regiment of Foot were assembled and entrusted to Major-General Count Giovan Quilico Casabianca - perhaps not coincidentally, a friend of Paoli - who was ordered to take control of all government forces in the province.