small: £600 between eighty congregations in 1689 worked out at £15 each and an increase in the number of congregations reduced the share to only £8 of a competent stipend of £40 in 1702. The piecemeal augmentations of the Royal Bounty were dwarfed by a massive endowment after the Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland, enacted in 1800, partly out of a desire to secure the loyalty of Presbyterians in the wake of the 1798 rebellion.
If the French Huguenots, English Dissenters and Irish Presbyterians often found it difficult to provide for their ministers, the problem for newly formed Dissenting groups was even more formidable. A Methodist itinerant preacher relied upon free board and penny-a-weeksubscriptions from class and quarterly meetings. Reflecting Wesley's own convictions, this system was predicated upon the interplay of voluntarism and connexionalism - the collection of money was a means to an evangelistic end rather than an end in itself. As with their better-established contemporaries, Methodist preachers attempted to supplement their income in other ways, including the sale of homemade medicines, though a ban on receiving an additional income was enacted in 1770. Such was the financial plight of local preachers that many did not become itinerants; indeed, half of the 200 preachers accepted between 1741 and 1765 failed to become career preachers. As their expectations began to increase in the late eighteenth century, the lack of financial resources became acute and the system showed increasing signs of vulnerability. After all, as David Hempton points out, the entire system depended upon 'frugality, goodwill, and bonds of affection' that could so easily be strained over financial issues.
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