James the Second.
James, on his accession, assigned a stated sum of 400,000 pounds a-year, to be paid quarterly from the treasury, for the service of the navy. Four additional commissioners were also appointed for the better regulating of the docks and naval storehouses, and for the more speedy repairs of ships of war. During this time a plan was proposed and patent granted for making salt water fresh by distillation. All captains and officers received orders to despatch perfect copies of their journals to the Secretary of the Admiralty. An increased allowance of table-money was granted in lieu of several perquisites and advantages they had before enjoyed.
The larger number of the officers and men of the navy were sound Protestants, who regarded the proceedings of James with jealous eyes; and thus, notwithstanding his magnificent fleet, Lord Dartmouth could only muster 17 sail of the line, chiefly third and fourth-rates, 3 frigates, 13 fire-ships, and 3 yachts to oppose the landing of the Prince of Orange.
On the 12th of December, 1688, James the Second finished his short reign by abdicating the throne, at which time the navy consisted of 173 sail, showing that he must have either built or purchased sixty ships.