WILLIAM III AND THE REVOLUTION OF 1688 & GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS II ELECTED KING OF SWEDEN OF THE GOTHS AND VANDALS, two essays by Marjorie Bowen; Inheritance Publications, Box 154 Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada, 1988; 144 pp., paper. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko.)

1988, the year this book was published, was the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution, the year in which the Stuart dynasty was ended in the British Isles and Ring William the III took the throne of Britain in the bloodless revolution. It contains an essay on William III as well as an additional essay on that great fighter of religious freedom in Germany Gustavus Adolphus II.

The first essay discusses how William III, stadhouder in the Netherlands and of the House of Grange, became the king of England. The essay is particularly interesting because it does not only record the historical events which led to William’s accession to the throne, but it describes too the situation in England (the overbearing and tyrannical rule of the Stuart kings and their bitter opposition to Presbyterianism in the British Isles). It records how James II attempted to restore popery to England and how William was brought to the throne to avoid this disaster. William’s claim to the throne was through his wife, Mary, who belonged to the Stuart line, but who remained loyal to her husband throughout his career and reign in England. The essay speaks also of the political and ecclesiastical situation in the Netherlands, and dwells at length on the character of William himself. The essay strikes me as being balanced; it does not regard William as deeply committed to Calvinism, although his reign brought about a rescue of Calvinism in England from the hands of the popish Stuarts.

The point of the essay is important: the reign of William in England effected radical changes in England’s social, political, and ecclesiastical institutions, changes which remain until the present day. In the view of the author, therefore, the Glorious Revolution, while entirely without bloodshed (James II fled England when William landed on English shores), was one of those great events in history which changed the direction of a nation.

While the author does not treat this part of the history, this William is the William who landed with his forces at Carrickfergus (a city near to Larne), Northern Ireland in 1690 and defeated the Roman Catholic forces at the great battle of the Boyne, thus saving Ulster from Roman Catholicism. This battle is still celebrated in Ulster every year by the Ulster Protestants.

Thus Dutch and English history were for a period of time interwoven.

The second essay deals with Gustavus Adolphus II, king of Sweden. His fame is due to the fact that he crossed the Baltic from Sweden to enter the struggle between Protestant forces and Roman Catholic forces in Germany. It was through his intervention that Protestantism was saved in Germany from Roman Catholic domination. The battles are known in history as the Thirty Years War. The account of them in this book is stirring. Although Gustavus Adolphus succeeded in defeating the armies of the emperor who was closely allied with Roman Catholics, he himself was slain in the last battle. The nobility of his character, his courage and commitment to the Reformation, and his use of new strategies in battle are amply portrayed in this essay.

The book gives us two stirring chapters in the battle for freedom in the wars following the Reformation. It is an interesting book and well worth reading by all those who are thankful for our own heritage.

The book can be obtained from the publisher or from the Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville, Michigan.