ADVANTAGES

During his brother's reign James was an involved courtier. He took seriously his duties as lord high admiral, serving as a more-than-titular administrator of the Royal Navy and taking an especially active role at the time of the Second Dutch War (1665–1667). His conduct of the admiralty—in administration, in battle, and in fighting the Great Fire of London in 1666—won favorable notice from others, including the diarist and naval administrator Samuel Pepys. James took an active interest in colonization and trade, which he hoped would secure a strong monarchy; at least one reason for this was the Restoration settlement put in place when Charles II regained the throne, which rendered the royal income dependent on customs and excise revenues. His 1683 extension of representative government to New York, of which he was the colonial proprietor, by way of the Charter of Liberties and Privileges may have owed to similar thinking. However, James's inflexible conduct as Lord High Commissioner of Scotland from 1679 to 1682 showed that he was not one to go overboard with experiments in liberty.

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