Along that line of thought such a deduction is indubitable, as indubitable as the deduction Voltaire made in jest (without knowing what he was jesting at) when he saw that the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was due to Charles IX's stomach being deranged.
Strange as at first glance it may seem to suppose that the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was not due to Charles IX's will, though he gave the order for it and thought it was done as a result of that order; and strange as it may seem to suppose that the slaughter of eighty thousand men at Borodino was not due to Napoleon's will, though he ordered the commencement and conduct of the battle and thought it was done because he ordered it; strange as these suppositions appear, yet human dignity- which tells me that each of us is, if not more at least not less a man than the great Napoleon- demands the acceptance of that solution of the question, and historic investigation abundantly confirms it.
In fact, the sack of La Rochelle, and the assassination of three of four thousand Huguenots who allowed themselves to be killed, would resemble too closely, in 1628, the massacre of St. Bartholomew
in 1572; and then, above all this, this extreme measure, which was not at all repugnant to the king, good Catholic as he was, always fell before this argument of the besieging generals--La Rochelle is impregnable except to famine.
Gentillet was responding to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew
in 1572 and perhaps to his perception of a link between that event and the French translation by Jacques Gohory in 1571.
Climactic events beyond the German borders, such as the battle of Lepanto, the massacre of St. Bartholomew
's Eve, and Alba's reign of terror in the Netherlands, involved Maximilian so marginally that a discussion within the context of his life was not justified.
This survey is not always sure-footed, particularly in its explanation of the massacre of St. Bartholomew
. Anjou, the future Henry III, was not the youngest son of Catherine de Medici, and the idea that his mother and his elder brother, Charles IX, ordered the assassination of the Huguenot leader, Coligny, thereby triggering the massacre, has been discredited by modern scholarship.
The final part (Sanctuary) follows her direction of the Calvinist cause from the death of her husband's brother, Louis de Conde, in March 1569, through the uneasy peace of Saint-Germain seventeen months later, to her own death after negotiating with Catherine de Medicis the marriage of her son to the queen mother's daughter, "la Reine Margot," a few weeks before the massacre of St. Bartholomew