The Relation of the Soil to Tropical Diseases


As a humble subscriber to and student of NATURE, will you bear with me while I ask your help, as shortly and plainly as I can? I am in a very secluded corner of one of the Native States of Rajpootana, and I am collecting facts and making observations on the relation of the soil to tropical diseases; my ambition being to discuss it not so much from a statistical and geographical standpoint, as from the geological, in its chemical and biological aspects; though, as I conceive, the geographical, climatological, and geological elements in the problem are not to be arbitrarily distinguished. Now I am far away from all books of reference, and it is of course essential that I make myself acquainted with what has already been done in these subjects, and I venture to ask for any hints as to the bibliography of them. Can you tell me if anyone has done for geology what Hirsch, of Berlin, has done for geography (in his work on the distribution of disease)? Is there any authority on the chemistry of soils, and what I roughly call their physiology and pathology, their structural and functional changes under influences—climate notably—and their own in trinsic, and the deeper geological interactions?

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ROBERTS, A. The Relation of the Soil to Tropical Diseases. Nature 41, 31–32 (1889).

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