Leprosy To the Editor of the scientific American : I am glad to see that your editorial in the issue of September 4th, 1915, has given rise to some discussion of the leprosy problem, even though that discussion seems somewhat hazy, and from a medical viewpoint— may I say it?—absurd. The statements and the questions propounded by your correspondent “ Uno “ in your last issue are typical of the confusion in the public mind on this subject, and would seem to have called for a less evasive and a more carefully thought-out reply than that given by Mr. Wooley. Although I am not professing to be an expert in leprology, I have studied the disease in this country, in Kalihi, Kalawao, and Kalaupapa, in Hawaii; and in the interior of China, and I feel strongly that certain popular misconceptions, shared apparently by both your correspondent and your editorial writer, should be corrected. First, in regard to the “contagiousness “ of the disease. Mr. Wooley asserts that “ there is a distinction between infectious diseases and contagious diseases,” but he does not define the distinction. I will run the risk of repetition in order to make very clear these fundamental terms of the discussion, since a large part of the misunderstanding as to the contagiousness of leprosy even among acknowledged experts, lies in the misconception of these common terms. The word infectious has to do solely with the immediate cause of a disease, and has nothing whatever to do with the manner of its transference from one individual to another. The term contagious has to do solely with such transference, and predicates nothing as to the cause. Thus malaria is an infectious disease, because it is caused by an infection—t e., the successful invasion of the individual by a harmful mico-organism, but malaria is not contagious because it is not transmitted directly from one individual to another by contact or propinquity. On the other hand, hysteria is often contagious, in that it may spread directly from person to person as in many well-known hysterical epidemics, but it is not infectious, because it is not caused by the invasion by a harmful micro-organism. Now since the immediate cause of leprosy was discovered in the bacillus leprre, there has never been any serious doubt as to its infectiousness. As to the possibilities of contagion, however, there have always been and there are to-day, widely divergent views. Without going into the minutire of the question, the following facts stand out as incontrovertible: first, that those who have been in prolonged intimate or careless contact with lepers often acquire the disease ; and, secondly, that without such prolonged intimate or careless contact, it is extremely hard to acquire it. It is astounding to meet with such a complete lapse of logic as is embodied in Mr. Wooley's rash generalization that leprosy is not contagious, a statement which he bases four-square upon the one fact that he and a companion “at one time spent many hours in a leper hospital in the Philippines, conversing with scores of lepers and photographing their sores and abrasions.” Would Mr. Wooley declare tuberculosis to be non-contagious because he had escaped taking the disease after an equal exposure? Now as to the matter of the cure of the lepers. Here again Mr. Wooley has made an optimistic generalization far overbalancing its very narrow foundations in fact' On the other hand, your correspondent's offhand statement that without any treatment whatever the anesthetic type of leprosy “generally dies out after 15 or 20 years” is not supported by the statistics of American workers, at least. It is true that this type sometimes exhibits remissions, and that the victim may often die from some other intercurrent illness; but these cases are exceptions. Of all the thousand methods of treatment, not one has justified itself as “a cure tor leprosy." To my mind, the nearest approach to this is the treatment worked out by Dr. Wayson, and mentioned casually by Mr. Wooley. This consists of an extremely ingenious method of auto-vaccination with the patient's own bacilli autolysed in the serum in a subcutaneous blister made by the application of solidified carbon dioxid to the skin overlying one of the leprous nodules. I have seen several cases completely cured by this method, and have photographed them (also without taking the disease!), but only a very small percentage of cases are cured by this or any other means. Chaul-moogra oil does exert a mildly beneficent action in the great majority of cases in some unexplained way, and it is the one standard remedy used in all, or nearly all leprosaria as a routine, but it cannot be called a cure. There is a' very great need for public .enlightenment on the subject of leprosy, for the minds of most men are still under the thrall of the ancient biblical terror, and “Unclean! Unclean!” is ' still the first thought in the layman's mind. The danger from the presence of uncontrolled lepers in the community, the needless fear, and its resulting inhumanity, can all be eliminated only by a campaign of education. The mastery of the disease itself can be entrusted to the steadfast and clear-thinking men whose lives are devoted to this end. Lowell C. Frost, M. D. 6422 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, Cal. The Submarine Question To the Editor of the scientific Amebican : In your issue of January 22d, Mr. F. A. de Peyster, of New York, takes exception to a statement of mine that submarines “are worthless practically for defence,” etc. The question of value is one of effect upon strategy. In regard to the Dardanelles operations: The submarines which were operating there were of the seagoing type. What they accomplished in the destruction of two enemy battleships was spectacular, but unimportant. Now for what they did not accomplish. They did not prevent the continued bombardments from the sea, the supplying and reinforcing of the enemy army, or its successful withdrawal from Galllpoli. The failure of the Allied operations at the Dardanelles was in no way due to the submarine. Rather it was due to the early naval attack unsupported by a military expedition, and the consequent loss of the chance for a surprise attack. "Why have not the English dreadnaughts entered the Baltic?” They are needed in the North Sea, with the Grand Fleet. In forcing the entrance to the Baltic, the British sea planes would be used 'for locating the defending submarines and then their destroyers would go submarine hunting. Submarines have been located by air-craft at considerable depths. Granted that a few blows might be got home by the submarine defence; but they would probably not be sufficient to change the preponderance of battleships, which decides sea control. It is hardly to be expected, however, that any serious attempt will be made to force the Baltic. A look at the map will show the Kiel Canal. To-day the British fleet by its battleship strength holds the German fleet to harbor, or the Baltic. It is not injuring the Allies' cause, and control of the Baltic is not vital to their success. Now supposing that England got foolish and despatched her fleet, or one half of it, to the Baltic. What would be the probable outcome ? Germany would have a fighting chance, to say the least, against a divided enemy ; and would probably accept battle either in the, Baltic or the North Sea. Probably the North Sea, as the Baltic is no more . vital to her success than to thatrof the Allies. The choice would fall to Germany, thanks to the Kiel Canal. If the whole British fleet were despatched to the Baltic, there would be no battle, only an invasion of England. While it is true that British submarines have entered the Baltic and the Sea of Marmora, and done considerable damage, of what effect has it been on the outcome of the war? About as much as the raids of the Confederate privateers against the commerce of the North in the Civil War. The submarines which have accomplished these stunts are of the sea-going type. Mr. de Peyster says, “I believe no dreadnaught of the present design can operate near a hostile port, if that port has submarines.” For months battleships have been operating at the Dardanelles. Then, sea control does not depend upon the capital ships operating near hostile ports. The dreadnaught is built for high sea operations, which decide sea-control. Picket boats, destroyers and light cruisers are sufficient for watching hostile ports. The submarine question should be considered as to its probable relation to general engagements. The modern fleet submarine, so called, is able when in the afloat condition to keep up with the fleet at medium battle speed—20 knots. In this condition they are vulnerable to almost the lightest gun on the enemy's fleet. When submerged they would be unable to keep up with a fleet steaming at speed in action. While a submarine screen might be thrown out arid efforts made to draw the enemy fleet across it, they would probably fail. The submarines would be located by the air scouts and the admiral would fight shy of them. If the enemy fleet withdrew too far, or was beaten, the submarines would fall prey to the destroyers. As a commerce raider the submarine has made good. This is its present sphere, and for a time at least its' principal one. While the successes of the submarine have been spectacular, the things which they have failed to accomplish should not be overlooked. They have not seriously interfered, First, with the commerce of the Allies. Second, with the transport of millions of Allied troops ever -seas. Third, with the Allies' control of the seas. Considering these three questions, it is evident that they have failed to seriously-effect the outcome of the war; The construction of “85 coast defence submarines” can not be too strongly condemned. One of the big lessons of the Great War is the discrediting of the “coast defence “ type of ship. Naval coast defence begins, and ends, upon the high seas, with the battle fleet. ROGER L. Gobdon. 58 Atherton St, Somerville, Mass. Labor and the National Guard To the Editor of the scientific Amebican: I have read with interest the controversy between “ patriot” and “citizen” over the question of exempting the National Guard from strike duty. That a patriot and a citizen should differ on this question, is easily understood by everyone who understands both sides of the question. There is a correlative aspect, however, which it seems to me makes such exemption expedient, whether approved on moral grounds or not. To understand this aspect it is not necessary to consider the validity of the objection which labor sympathizers have to the use of the National Guard for strike duty. It is only necessary to recognize that such objection is very widespread, and that it is based upon reasons which appear to labor, so valid and important that labor sympathizers will oppose, with all the force in their command, any system of preparedness which does not give assurance that the preparations will not be used in industrial disputes. It has been suggested that the reason why American men do not enter the National Guard is because they object to even the small modicum of discipline that is there required. This is doubtless a reason deterring many, but the industrial reason would appear to be still more potent, because it is so widespread, and because it is founded upon strong and fundamental convictions. So important does labor consider this question, that many thoughtful labor leaders suspect that the desire to have a strong national guard is influenced by the desire of industrial leaders to have a strong military force ready at hand to suppress inconvenient strikes. The question of adequately preparing this country against invasion is one of such vital moment that the entire country should be united upon it. For this reason every collateral question which is causing serious opposition to the main , subject should be separated from the main subject in order that the latter may be settled separately. It may or may not be desirable to have an armed force for ..the maintenance of order in time of strikes. The conflict on the subject is irreconcilable because it is not a matter of mere difference of opinion, but a fundamental difference as to the objects of government. Because the conflict is irreconcilable it is futile to discuss it, unless we care to plough deep into the subsoil of society. It is moreover unnecessary in a discussion of preparedness. If such a force is needed, we can provide it whenever we can get sufficient unanimity of opinion to come to a conclusion. It does not need to be the same force as that provided for protection against a foreign foe. It is a needless befuddling of the issue to discuss this question as thought it were part of the subject of preparedness. When such a force is needed, let us provide a special force for it, and let there be no question in the discussion as to what the force is to be used for. This is all irrelevant to preparedness. In the meantime, it is believed that a large, well organized national guard could be built up as a protection against invasion. Without such opposition from the labor sympathizers, if a clause be inserted in the enlistment papers, providing that- the recruit can refuse to act, and terminte the enlistment whenever he is ordered to serve in an industrial dispute. It would appear that such a clause could be so worded that the serviceability of the troops for national defense against a foreign foe would not be impaired. At the same time the insertion of such a clause in the enlistment papers, would take away all foundation for the contention of labor sympathizers as to the real motives behind the demand for a larger national guard. a measure introduced proposing to create a national guard with such a proviso in the term of enlistment, would probably receive no organized opposition from labor, and yet would furnish the national protection which we seem to be needing. The presentation of such a measure before Congress would neither be a disapproval nor an approval of the use of an armed force in industrial disputes. It would be merely a recognition of the fact that such a problem is distinct from preparedness, and one which should be separately considered, so that the question of preparedness need not be imperiled. Willis B. RICE. 1913 Park Road, Washington, D. C.