Sanitation, Diet, Disease, etc. 317
or unintentionally incorrect, and the onus of proof, therefore
may fairly be considered to lie with them who discredit the
statements of all patients alike.
There is thus, in the opinion of the Commission, no doubt
that the consumption of fish is not the cause of leprosy. The
fact that a fair number of cases of leprosy exists amongst
people who have never touched such food argues sufficiently
strongly against the exclusive fish hypothesis as above stated.
Salt also has been mentioned in connexion with leprosy,
though by laymen rather than scientific writers. Mr. Cony-
beare during the early part of this year asked the Under-
Secretary of State for India in the House of Commons
" whether in the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay the price
of salt has risen from 9 annas and 8 annas per maund in 1800
to R2-11 and R2-8 in 1890 respectively; whether he can state
the facts, as to the increase or otherwise, in the price of
salt for the other presidencies during the same period; whe-
ther in India the average consumption of salt per head
for all purposes is only 10lb, while in the United Kingdom it is
72lb; whether it be a fact that leprosy has also increased
during the same period; and whether the Government will di-
rect the special attention of the Medical Commission on Le-
prosy in India to an investigation of the apparent connexion
between the want of cheap salt and the spread of leprosy."
Accordingly special attention was paid to this subject, and,
as far as possible, the most accurate information obtained.
For the financial and statistical data regarding the price and
consumption of salt the Commission are indebted to Mr. J. E.
O'Conor, Assistant Secretary of the Government of India in
the Department of Finance and Commerce, and they gladly
here give expression to their obligation to him.
For the present argument, that is the relation between the
want of cheap salt and the spread of leprosy, it will not be
necessary to go further back than 1861. It is true that in the
following provinces, viz., Burma, Rajputana, Central India,