To the Editor of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: In your issue of September 23rd, at page 275, you express the opinion that the Tung, or Chinese wood-oil tree, “might nourish in warmer parts of the United States.” My purpose in writing this is to inform you that it does nourish in Louisiana as far north as Red River in the central part of the State of Louisiana. Here at Abbeville, in the southwestern portion of the State, near the Gulf of Mexico, I have several trees measuring nine inches in circumference and over twenty feet high, which mature their fruit and are only four years old. It is of erect habit, handsome appearance, its branches are easily controlled, and 1 should consider it an ideal ornamental tree for cities where the crowded conditions of tall walls and buildings leave little room for the ordinary trees. It flowers early in the spring, and its blossoms are very beautiful and quite fragrant. Abbeville, La. C. J. EDWARDS. Nitrogen and the Soil To the Editor of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: It has just now come to our notice that in the edition of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN published August 19th, 1911, there was a communication from Dr. J. G. Lipman of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, in which he claims that the priority of discovery that “a legume growing with a non-legume causes the latter to contain a higher nitrogen content than if the non-legume were grown alone” rests with him, or as he expresses it, with the New Jersey Experiment Station. If his objection is based on the contention that this fact was announced by him before it was by the undersigned, his position is untenable, as we published conclusive evidence of this in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, July, 1910, and also presented it at the Omaha meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, December 7th and 8th, 1909. The latest of these was several months previous to the appearance of the article in the Journal of Agricultural Science, Vol. III., Part III., and the note in the Report of the Office of Experiment Stations for 1909 in which Dr. Lipman claims to have made a similar announcement, both of which publications appeared in October, 1910. Our article on “Availability of Soil Nitrogen in Relation to the Basicity of the Soil and to the Growth of Legumes” contained a detailed description of our investigation, including statements of analysis of the non-legumes grown with and without legumes. This article was received by the editor of the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry on April 21st, 1910, and appeared in July of that year. The articles published by Dr. Lipman in which he claims to have made a similar announcement were the following: “A Method for the Study of Soil Fertility Problems,” which appeared in the Journal of Agricultural Science, Vol. III., Part III., and was received at the Cornell University Library on October 12th, 1910, and a brief note ia. the Annual Report of the Office of Experiment Stations for 1909, which publication bears the date of issue October 10th, 1910, on its cover. It will be noticed that both of these publications appeared several months after our article in the July number of the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. In neither of Dr. Lip-man's publications are any figures given to show that the fact had been demonstrated, that legumes may increase the nitrogen content of non-legumes growing with them. We have a high respect for Dr. Lip-man's work, and have no doubt that he had come to the same conclusion that we had reached as the result of his own work, but we feel that it was only proper that we should make this explanation to show that we announced the fact before Dr. Lipman did, and furthermore published our results in detail. We regret that a public explanation is necessary, but the communication in the August 19th number of this journal requires this. It is altogether probable that Dr. Lipman failed to see our article in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry before he wrote his communication. T. L. LYON, J. A. BrzzELL. New York State College of Agriculture and Experiment Station at Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y. The Naval Review at New York To the Editor of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: The fleet that was reviewed by President Taft on the second of November was the most formidable ever assembled in American waters, exceeding by a wide margin the allied fleet that participated in the Hudson-Pulton celebration two years ago. Comparing the Atlantic fleet of that time with the present, we find that the strength in pre-dreadnought vessels is about the same while the addition of the six all-big-gun ships more than offset the foreign vessels that were in the Hudson at that time. The English flagship “Inflexible” would be easily outfought by the “Delaware,” while the three remaining cruisers would be mere stationary targets for the powerful 12-inch gun batteries of the “Utah” and “South Carolina.” Admiral Von Roester's German vessels would find the lone “North Dakota” more than a match for them. The ill-fated “Liberte” and her sister ships “Justice” and “Ve-rite,” carrying four 12-inch guns each, could make but a feeble fight against the combined attack of the “Florida” and “Michigan.” Unaided by the cruisers, the veterans “Indiana” and “Massachusetts” could dispose of the remaining foreign vessels with a few effective broadsides. GERALD ELLIS CRONHST. Brooklyn, N. Y. Upbuilding Our Merchant Marine To the Editor of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: Since writing you within the past few weeks the writer has eagerly scrutinized your correspondence column, hoping to find some manifestations of interest from your readers on the revival of the American merchant marine. If all the great journals in this broad land would do as much as you have already done to enlighten the public on this subject, the great mass of the people, in the interior especially, would be much better informed in regard to the actual status of our shipping interests. Such information would enable and incline them to send more statesmen and fewer demagogues to Congress, and would result in the enactment of such a shipping law as would stimulate our foreign commercial interests, and at least lay the foundation for such a merchant marine as would command the respect of the nations of the earth. The situation calls for immediate action, and the friends of American shipping interests should endeavor, if possible, to accomplish something at the approaching session of Congress. Canton, Miss. JAMES G. MCBRIDE.
This article was originally published with the title "Correspondence"