On the 17th the emperor left Vienna for Innsbruck "for the benefit of his health," and thence, on the 20th, issued a proclamation in which he cast himself on the loyalty of his faithful provinces, and, while confirming the concessions of March, ignored those of the 15th of May. The flight of the emperor had led to a revulsion of feeling in Vienna; but the issue of the proclamation and the attempt of the government to disperse the students by closing the university, led to a fresh outbreak on the 26th. Once more the ministry conceded all the demands of the insurgents, and even went so far as to hand over the public treasury and the responsibility of keeping order to a newly constituted Committee of Public Safety.
The tide was now, however, on the turn. The Jacobinism National movements. of the Vienna democracy was not really representative of any widespread opinion even in the German parts of Austria, while its loud-voiced Germanism excited the lively opposition of the other races. Each of these had taken advantage of the March troubles to press its claims, and everywhere the government had shown the same yielding spirit. In Bohemia, where the attempt to hold elections for the Frankfort parliament had broken down on the opposition of the Czechs and the conservative German aristocracy, a separate constitution had been proclaimed on the 8th of April; on March the 23rd the election by the diet of Agram of Baron Joseph Jellachich as ban of Croatia was confirmed, as a concession to the agitation among the southern Slavs; on the 18th of March Count Stadion had proclaimed a new constitution for Galicia. Even where, as in the case of the Serbs and Rumans, the government had given no formal sanction to the national claims, the emperor was regarded as the ultimate guarantee of their success; and deputations from the various provinces poured into Innsbruck protesting their loyalty.
To say that the government deliberately adopted the Machiavellian policy of mastering the revolution by setting race against race would be to pay too high a compliment to its capacity. The policy was forced upon it; and was only pursued consciously when it became obvious. Count Stadion began it in Galicia, where, before bombarding insurgent Cracow into submission (April 26), he had won over the Ruthenian peasants by the abolition of feudal dues and by forwarding a petition to the emperor for the official recognition of their language alongside Polish. But the great object lesson was furnished by the events in Prague, where the quarrel between Czechs and Germans, radicals and conservatives, issued on the 12th of June in a rising of the Czech students and populace. The suppression of this rising, and with it of the revolution in Bohemia, on the 16th of June, by Prince Windischgrätz, was not only the first victory of the army, but was the signal for the outbreak of a universal race war, in which the idea of constitutional liberty was sacrificed to the bitter spirit of national rivalry.
The parliament at Frankfort hailed Windischgrätz as a national hero, and offered to send troops to his aid; the German revolutionists in Vienna welcomed every success of Radetzky's arms in Italy as a victory for Germanism. The natural result was to drive the Slav nationalities to the side of the imperial government, since, whether at Vienna or at Budapest, the radicals were their worst enemies.
The 16th of June had been fatal to the idea of an independent Bohemia, fatal also to Pan-Slav dreams. To the Czechs the most immediate peril now seemed that from the German parliament, and in the interests of their nationality they were willing to join the Austrian government in the struggle against German liberalism. The Bohemian diet, summoned for the 19th, never met. Writs were issued in Bohemia for the election to the Austrian Reichsrath; and when, on the 10th of July, this assembled, the Slav deputies were found to be in a majority. This fact, which was to lead to violent trouble later, was at first subordinate to other issues, of which the most important was the question of the emancipation of the peasants. After long debates the law abolishing feudal services - the sole permanent outcome of the revolution - was carried on the 31st of August, and on the 7th of September received the imperial consent. The peasants thus received all that they desired, and their vast weight was henceforth thrown into the scale of the government against the revolution.
Meanwhile the alliance between the Slav nationalities and the Jellachich and "Illyrism." conservative elements within the empire had found a powerful representative in Jellachich, the ban of Croatia. At first, indeed, his activity had been looked at askance at Innsbruck, as but another force making for disintegration. He had apparently identified himself with the "Illyrian" party, had broken off all communications with the Hungarian government, and, in spite of an imperial edict issued in response to the urgency of Batthyáni, had summoned a diet to Agram, which on the 9th of June decreed the separation of the "Triune Kingdom" from Hungary. The imperial government, which still hoped for Magyar aid against the Viennese revolutionists, repudiated the action of the ban, accused him of disobedience and treason, and deprived him of his military rank. But his true motives were soon apparent; his object was to play off the nationalism of the "Illyrians" against the radicalism of Magyars and Germans, and thus to preserve his province for the monarchy; and the Hungarian radicals played into his hands.
The fate of the Habsburg empire depended upon the issue of the campaign in Italy, which would have been lost by the withdrawal of the Magyar and Croatian regiments; and the Hungarian government chose this critical moment to tamper with the relations of the army to the monarchy. In May a National Guard had been established; and the soldiers of the line were invited to join this, with the promise of higher pay; on the 1st of June the garrison of Pest took the oath to the Constitution. On the 10th Jellachich issued a proclamation to the Croatian regiments in Italy, bidding them remain and fight for the emperor and the common Fatherland. His loyalty to the tradition of the imperial army was thus announced, and the alliance was cemented between the army and the southern Slavs.