You are here
"He Shall Perish"
|"He Shall Perish"
|Year of Publication
|Kingship; Napoleon III; Nineteenth-Century American History; Nineteenth-Century World History; Prophecy; Prophet
2 Nephi 10 prophesies that a king will never be raised up unto the gentiles upon the land. Reynolds tells of the tragic fates of Louis Napoleon and Maximilian who tried to establish an empire in Mexico (1861) after the Book of Mormon had come forth and warns all people against attempting such a thing.
Show Full Text
"He Shall Perish."
By Elder Geo. Reynolds.
No sooner had the riches of America become known to the peoples of Europe through the discoveries and conquests of the Spaniards than the various monarchies began to partition the western world among themselves, as they are now doing Africa and China. England, France, Portugal and other nations followed the example of Spain and established colonies in different parts of this land until a map of one hundred and fifty years ago would show the whole of the American Continent as belonging to or being tributary to some one of the European powers. The people of the United States were the first to shake off the foreign yoke, and their example was followed, a few decades later, by a number of others. It is somewhat remarkable that these revolutionary upheavals were the most active and most successful between the time of the appearance of the Father and Son to the youthful prophet, Joseph Smith, in 1820, and the publication of the Book of Mormon about ten years later. Between these dates Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru declared themselves independent of all foreign powers. In all these cases, except in Brazil, a republic was declared, fashioned more or less after the pattern of the United States. In Brazil an independent empire was proclaimed.
In the tenth chapter of the second book of Nephi appears the following prophecy uttered by his brother Jacob:
But behold, this land, saith God, shall be a land of thine inheritance' and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles;
And I will fortify this land against all other nations;
And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God;
For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.
It will be noticed in this prophecy that it is stated "there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. * * * For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish." It cannot be said that those kings who were raised up unto the Gentiles before the publication of the Book of Mormon were raised up against God; for where "there is no law there is no condemnation," and therefore those who had no opportunity of knowing the law or who were raised up before it was published could not have done it in rebellion against or in opposition to the word and will of the Lord. This was the case with Brazil, but even that empire has perished in. God's own time and a republican form of government now controls in that land.
But there is a case that most terribly fulfills the malediction contained in the above quoted prophecy; it is that of the Emperor Louis Napoleon of France and those associated with him in the attempt to establish an empire in Mexico.
For a number of years Louis Napoleon was the mightiest man in Europe. Partly through the glamor of his name, as "the nephew of his uncle," and partly by long-continued endeavor, associated with political astuteness, he had worked himself from being a political exile in England to be first the president of the French Republic and afterwards emperor of the French. For a time all went well with him so far as outward appearances were concerned, but he undertook to raise up a king to the Gentiles against the Lord on this continent, and then decisive, though gradual destruction came upon him.
In the days when Napoleon was president of the French Republic, (1851), Elder John Taylor, with other brethren, visited Europe as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ. His labors were largely in France and Germany. He published the Book of Mormon in the languages of both these nations, and took especial care that the French translation should be placed within the reach of the President of the Republic and other high officials. We do not know whether Louis Napoleon read the sacred record, but he had full opportunity to do so. If he was not acquainted with the prophecies which that book contains, the fault did not lie with the servants of God. The coup d'etat followed in December, 1851, and the slender hopes that had before existed of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being officially recognized by the French Government were crushed in the despotism that followed. In due time Louis Napoleon, from being president, was proclaimed emperor, (November, 1852.) He married the beautiful Spanish Countess Eugenie de Montejo, in 1853, who, in a few years, bore him a son, (1856,) the sole fruit of their union. He waged successful war against Russia, Austria and Cochin China, in all of which the French gained glory, and, in two cases, obtained increased power and wealth.
In process of time (1861), Napoleon took it into his head he would establish an empire in Mexico. The unsettled condition of affairs in that country afforded him the pretext that the rights of French citizens were not protected. England and Spain were at first inclined to aid him in this venture, but soon retired, and he was left alone to carry out his scheme. Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, a brother of the Emperor Francis Joseph, was chosen to occupy the imperial position. For some time he hesitated; he was loath to accept the proffered honor, but being constantly urged by the French Emperor and his own friends, he finally accepted. He with his wife, the Princess Carlotta, sister of the King of the Belgians, came over to Mexico, and for a time, with the assistance of French bayonets and the troops of the reactionary Mexican party, he made a successful campaign. Then the government of the United States made so strong a protest against the whole scheme, and asserted itself so vigorously as the champion of the Mexican Republic, that Nepoleon thought it well to withdraw the French troops, and accordingly they embarked for Europe. Maximilian, who was made of heroic stuff, refused to flee, his Mexican followers were overwhelmed by the national forces, he was taken prisoner, and with two of his generals, Miramon and Mejia, was afterwards shot (June, 1867).
Maximilian's last words were, "Poor Carlotta!"1 And well might he say "Poor Carlotta!" Sad has been her history ever since. When the French deserted her husband, and she found that her efforts to secure help for him at other European courts were unavailing, her reason began to totter, and the news of his death finished the work. For nearly a third of a century she has been bereft of reason, a childless widow confined within castle walls awaiting the liberating hand of the long-delayed angel of death.
And what of Napoleon and his wife, she who was once considered the most beautiful woman in Europe? A few years after his ill-advised attempt to erect an empire on American soil, he entered altogether too lightly into a terrible war with Germany (1870). The results are known to us; he was defeated, the enemy overflowed his land, entered his capital city and compelled a humiliating peace. Napoleon was made prisoner, and, in France, a republic was established in place of the empire over which he had ruled. He died in 1872, an exile in England. His only son went to war against savages, as a soldier in the armies of the country that had proved an asylum to his father, and in far-off South Africa he was slain by the hands of the Zulus (1879). The once beautiful Eugenie, heartbroken with her sorrows, a wreck from disease and suffering, like Carlotta, still lives, the sole representative of the family. Was ever prophecy more terribly, more completely fulfilled? They have perished, root and branch; their names are blotted out, their generations have ceased.
But is that all? What of Maximilian's family? Sophie, the mother of Francis Joseph and Maximilian, was a princess of the house of Bavaria, so was Elizabeth, the former's wife: and with terrible weight and frequency have the blows fallen on that monarch and his Bavarian kinsfolk. Himself the ruler of a divided house rapidly crumbling to pieces through the animosities of the differing races of which it is composed, he has been defeated in every war in which he has engaged with his neighbors. His only son, the successor to the throne, the Crown Prince Rudolph, died a violent death, (January, 1889) the details of which are kept a secret. It is officially said that he committed suicide, but the story goes that he was killed by a nobleman whose wife had formerly been a mistress to the Prince and on whom Rudolph still forced his attentions. The husband is said to have also killed his wife and then himself. Thus, like Maximilian and Napoleon, Francis Joseph is left without a son and heir to the throne. Again, the Emperor Francis Joseph's wife, the Empress Elizabeth, was assassinated, without provocation, at Geneva, Switzerland, last October, by an anarchist. Her sister, Sophie, Duchess of Alancon, was burned to death in that terrible fire, (May, 1897) at a charitable bazaar in Paris, when so many of the ladies of the European nobility met a horrible death. The Archduchess Mathilde, another sister, carelessly dropped a burning match upon her dress and was also burned to death. King Louis II of Bavaria became insane and drowned himself. Count Louis of Trani, Prince of Sicily, committed suicide. The Archduke John of Tuscany discarded royalty and was lost at sea.2 The Archduke Wilhelm died from injuries received through a fall from a horse. The Archduke Ladislaus shot himself accidentally while hunting. Was there ever a family on whom misfortunes fell thicker and faster than upon the immediate relatives of the man who was persuaded to establish himself against God's word, as Emperor of Mexico? The wonderful fulfillment of this one prediction alone, stamps the Book of Mormon as divine, for the prophecy was uttered in the name of the Lord, and he has brought it to pass most marvelously.
- "Born a princess, and educated to wear a crown, now, although Carlotta has lived but fifty-nine years, thirty-three of them have been passed within the walls of an asylum for the insane. Married at seventeen, a queen at twenty-four and a lunatic at twenty-six, she was bereft of father, husband, empire and reason in the short space of eighteen months, and then, by the irony of fate, forever banished from human memory. Carlotta's career was almost kinetoscopic in the rapidity of its changes-promising in its inception, magnificent in its rise, pathetic, dramatic, tragic in its decline and fall." — Princess Slam Slam.
- The Archduke John Salvator of Tuscany, a nephew of the Emperor Francis Joseph, fell in love with an actress and singer, Ludmilla Hubel, whom he married in spite of all family opposition, renouncing at the same time all his rights, privileges and rank, and assuming the name of Orth, after one of his castles. The romantic marriage was celebrated secretly, but in a perfectly legal manner in London. Johann Orth next bought, in 1891, a fine ship in Liverpool, which he renamed Santa Margarita; and so anxious was he to guard against the vessel being recognized, that he had all drawings and photographs of it handed over to him, and these he burned with his own hands; moreover he caused all portraits of himself and of his wife to be bought up at any price, and these were likewise destroyed. Shortly afterwards the ex-Archduke and his wife set sail for South America, and the vessel was duly reported to have arrived at Monte Video, and departed for a destination unknown. But from that moment every trace was lost of the ship and all on board, no news as to her fate having ever been heard, although many a search has been made along the coast by order of the Emperor of Austria and his government. Adventurers and treasure-seekers have been at work, as it is well known that Johann Orth had on board over a quarter of a million pounds in specie; it is believed that he intended to have bought an estate in Chili with the money and to have settled there, but that the vessel foundered off Cape Horn during a terrific storm which raged on the coast shortly after the ship had left. From time to time since then the most startling rumors have been set afloat about the missing Prince having turned up: one being that he had been one of the leaders of the Chilian rebellion, having divided his treasure among his crew, burned his ship, landed on a lonely coast, etc. His own mother, who died only a few months ago at the Castle Orth, believed her son alive to the very last hour, and expected his return.
Items in the BMC Archive are made publicly available for non-commercial, private use. Inclusion within the BMC Archive does not imply endorsement. Items do not represent the official views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of Book of Mormon Central.
Get the latest updates on Book of Mormon topics and research for free