The principle which underlies this extraordinary paper is probably the conception that the Protestant church has the same dispensing power which the medieval church claimed, but that it was to be exercised altogether apart from fees of any kind.
In 1686 James claimed and used the dispensing power as to penal laws against Catholics, in face of the opposition of two of the Scottish bishops (who were ejected from their sees) and of parliament.
Catholics were now admitted to the chief offices in the army, and to some important posts in the state, in virtue of the dispensing power of James.
By an unscrupulous use of the dispensing power he introduced Dissenters and Catholics into all departments of state and into the municipal corporations, which were remodelled in their interests.
The parliament to which he intended to appeal was, however, to be as different a body from the parliament which met in the first year of his reign as the bench of judges which had approved of the dispensing power had been different from the bench which existed at his accession.