They were five. Frank, the carpenter, big and energetic. It was he who had first cried, “Land!”. Then Paul, a farmer. You can see him, front and left in the picture, on his knees, one hand against the floor, the other gripping the mast of the raft. Next is Jim, an animal breeder; he's the one in the striped pants, kneeling and gazing in the direction of land. Then there is Harry, an agriculturist, a little on the stout side, seated on a trunk salvaged from the wreck. And finally Tom, a prospector and a mineralogist; he is the merry fellow standing in the rear of the picture with his hand on the carpenter's shoulder.
All agreed to call the place Salvation Island.
At first they find their food where they can. But soon the fields are tilled and seeded, and the farmer has his crops.
As season followed season this island, this heritage of the five men, Salvation Island, became richer and richer.
Its wealth was not that of gold or of paper bank notes, but one of true value; a wealth of food and clothing and shelter, of all the things to meet human needs.
Each man worked at his own trade. Whatever surpluses he might have of his own produce, he exchanged for the surplus products of the others. Life wasn't always as smooth and complete as they could have wished it to be.
They lacked many of the things to which they had been accustomed in civilization. But their lot could have been a great deal worse.
Besides, all had experienced the depression in Canada. They still remembered the empty bellies side by side with stores crammed with food. At least, on Salvation Island, they weren't forced to see the things they needed rot before their eyes.
Taxes were unknown here. Nor did they go in constant fear of seizure by the bailiff. They worked hard but at least they could enjoy the fruits of their toil.
So they developed the island, thanking God and hoping for the day of reunion with their families, still in possession of life and health, those two greatest of blessings.
The products to be exchanged were not always at hand when a trade was discussed. For example, wood delivered to the farmer in winter could not be paid for in potatoes until six months later. Sometimes one man might have an article of considerable size which he wished to exchange for a number of smaller articles produced by different men at different times.
All this complicated business and laid a heavy burden on the memory. With a monetary system, however, each one could sell his products to the others for money. With this money he could buy from the others the things he wanted, when he wished and when they were available.
It was agreed that a system of money would indeed be very convenient. But none of them knew how to set up such a system. They knew how to produce true wealth - goods.
But how to produce money, the symbol of this wealth, was something quite beyond them.
They were ignorant of the origin of money, and needing it they didn't know how to produce it.
Certainly, many men of education would have been in the same boat; all our governments were in that predicament during the ten years prior to the war.
The only thing the country lacked at that time was money and the governments didn't know what to do to get it.
They learned that he was the only survivor of a wreck. His name: Oliver.
Delighted to have a new companion, they provided him with the best that they had, and they took him on an inspection tour of the colony.
“Even though we're lost and cut off from the rest of the World,” they told him,“we haven't too much to complain about. The earth and the forest are good to us.
We lack only one thing — money. That would make it easier for us to exchange our products.” “Well, you can thank Providence,” replied Oliver, “because I am a banker, and in no time at all, I'll set up a system of money guaranteed to satisfy you.
Then you'll have everything that people in civilization have.” A banker!... A BANKER!... An angel coming down out of the clouds couldn't have inspired more reverence and respect in our men.
For, after all, are we not accustomed, we people in civilization, to genuflect before bankers, those men who control the lifeblood of finance?
“I shall, like every other banker, carry out to complete satisfaction my task of forging the community's prosperity.”
“Mr. Oliver, we're going to build you a house that will be in keeping with your dignity as a banker. But in the meantime, do you mind if we lodge you in the building that we use for our get our getogethers?” “That will suit me, my friends.
But first of all, unload the boat. There's paper and a printing press, complete with ink and type, and there's a little barrel which I exhort you to treat with the greatest care.”
They unloaded everything. The small barrel aroused intense curiosity in our good fellows.
“This barrel,” Oliver announced, “contains a treasure beyond dreams. It is full of... gold!” Full of gold! The five all but swooned. The god of civilization here on Salvation Island! The yellow god, always hidden, yet terrible in its power, whose presence or absence or slightest caprice could decide the very fate of all the civilized nations! “Gold! Mr. Oliver, you are indeed a great banker!” “Oh august majesty! Oh honorable Oliver! Great high priest of the god, gold! Accept our humble homage, and receive our oaths of fidelity!” “Yes, my friends, gold enough for a continent.
But gold is not for circulation. Gold must be hidden. Gold is the soul of healthy money, and the soul is always invisible. But I'll explain all that when you receive your first supply of money.”