The very last words Lincoln delivered on the afternoon before the assassinationólast of those great utterances that for six or seven years electrified and enlightened half the worldówere a message of suggestion and encouragement to the miners of the Rockies. Schuyler Colfax was going thither and was paying his final call at the White House. Lincoln said to Him:
"Mr. Colfax, I want you to take a message from me to the miners whom you visit. I have very large ideas of the mineral wealth of our nation. I believe it is practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the western country, from the Rocky mountains to the Pacific, and its development has scarcely commenced. During the war, when we were adding a couple of million dollars every day to our national debt, I did not care about encouraging the increase in the volume of our precious metals; we had the country to save first. But now that the rebellion is overthrown, and we know pretty nearly the amount of our national debt, the more gold and silver we mine, we make the payment of that debt so much easier. Now, I am going to encourage that in every possible way. We shall have hundreds of thousands of disbanded soldiers, and many have feared that their return home in such great numbers might paralyze industry by furnishing suddenly a greater supply of labor than there will be a demand for. I am going to try to attract them to the hidden wealth of our mountain ranges, where there is room enough for all. Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, will land upon our shores hundreds of thousands more from overcrowded Europe. I intended to point them to the gold and sliver that wait for them in the West. Tell the miners for me, that I shall promote their interests to the best of my ability, because their prosperity is the prosperity of the nation; and we shall prove in a few years that we are indeed the treasury of the world."