from The San Jose Letter, August 22, 1896 ... compare it to the piece, Building a Railroad, and Paying for It -- and Who Benefits? (below).
THE GUERNSEY MARKET.
In the parish of St. Peters, Island of Guernsey, marketing was carried on in illy-protected stalls around the church square.
The losses to venders by rain, and the inconveniences to buyers, made the needs of a covered markethouse keenly felt; and some public spirited citizens took the matter in hand to have one built.
An estimate of the size of the house required brought its approximate cost in money to $22,000, and to raise this amount of money became the question with the promoters of the scheme.
It was a question, however, of easy solution, as they had thousands of precedents.
They drew up a petition setting forth the need of a market house, and desiring the Governor to issue interest-bearing bonds, to be negotiated in Paris or London, for the money wherewith to erect the building.
To said petition were offered the signatures of some 300 house-holders in the parish, and a committee was appointed to present the same to Governor De L. Isle Brock.
It happened that, while the people were money worshippers, that is, believed in the omnipotence of money, Governor Brock, on the contrary, was a money infidel, that is, did not believe that money was able to do the least thing.
Consequently, when the committee presented the petition, superstition and science came in conflict.
The Governor set to work with arguments to prevent the citizens from going into debt and becoming tributary to bankers in Paris or London.
"Will you permit me," he asked the committee, "to place before you some very simple questions?"
"Have we the necessary number of mechanics among us to build said house?" he asked.
The committee replied that they had, adding that, owing to dull times, many workmen were out of employment and would be glad of a job. "We have the men." He then asked about the material— rocks, bricks, lumber, lime, and about tools, teams, as well as all the requisites to maintain men and teams while the work was being executed.
"Here you tell me," he said, "we have among ourselves everything needed to build the markethouse, yet you desire me to bond you to bankers for material which is of no manner of use in the construction of the house; strange anomaly."
"It is true," remarked one of the committee, "that we have men and material, but we lack the money to pay the men and buy the material."
"Friends," replied the Governor, "when a man gets paid for work done or material furnished, it means that he has worked for others and sold the material. Is it your intention to build a house for bankers? If so, then you are right in demanding pay from those banks. But, in such a case, you should not place yourselves under bondage besides. If those bankers pay you for the house, and hold you in bondage also, demanding annual tribute, they will soon have both the house and the money they paid you.
"It will be no relief to say that we make the renters of the market house pay that tribute to the bankers.
"The renters will be part of us, and they will demand of their customers that tribute in higher prices for goods.
"Allow me, gentlemen, to propose a better plan for building our market house.
"This can best be done by means of a money which lays no claim to interest. Instead of bonds, I will issue $22,000 Market House Script, of different denominations (as money), and with these pay the men and purchase the material, then make these scripts receivable at par with legal tender money for the rent of the stalls."
The scripts were issued, the material procured, the men put to work, the building erected, and the stalls rented.
The scripts circulated in the Island at par. Every month's rent reduced their quantity, and, in less than 10 years all were back in the public treasury and stamped cancelled, and thus ended the life of the Guernsey Market House scripts.
If every business man, and laborer, in the city of Vallejo would pledge himself to receive such scripts at par, for goods sold, or services rendered, we, too, could build a new City Hall, or improve our water system, or erect electric light plants without the aid of the banker or bond holder. This is the plan proposed by the Labor Exchange, submitted for the consideration of the citizens of Vallejo.
Governor Brock did not let this monetary event pass into obscurity. Accordingly he appointed a special day to celebrate. When the day arrived the market house was festooned with garlands and streamers, with a large flag bearing the inscription: "As good as if built with borrowed gold."—Richard Caverly in S. F. Star.