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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/759

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NEVADA SILVER.

certainly worthless for agriculture. Unless there shall prove to be great mineral wealth there, it has been created in vain. But if, in the workings of Divine Providence, vast treasure houses are revealed, as I believe there will be, then, my friends, it will take the labor of a hundred thousand California miners a hundred thousand years even to prospect it!"

Even while Greeley spoke a small group of ignorant prospectors, climbing the canons that slope south from Mount Davidson,

PSM V49 D759 Carson river canyon.jpg
Carson River CaƱon.

were approaching the Comstock ledge. They were, in fact, already filling their rude sluice-boxes with decomposed rock from the giant lode, and were washing out a little gold, while they threw many a lump of nearly pure silver down the gulches with loud imprecations because the "blue stuff" clogged the machines. These miners were the remnants of several larger camps that had grown, flourished, and fallen into ruins in western Utah during eight or ten years, but they were not the first settlers of the Nevada region. The Oregon trail had three thousand emigrants