For this unfortunate combination Signor Sonnino himself was not altogether to blame; having lost many of his most faithful followers, who, weary of waiting for office, had gone over to the enemy, he had been forced to seek support among men who had professed hostility to the existing order of things and thus to secure at least the neutrality of the Extreme Left and make the public realize that the reddest of Socialists, Radicals and Republicans may be tamed and rendered harmless by the offer of cabinet appointments.
The chemical analogy of this substance to chlorine was quickly perceived, especially after its investigation by Davy and Gay Lussac. Cyanogen, a compound which in combination behaved very similarly to chlorine and iodine, was isolated in 1815 by Gay Lussac. This discovery of the first of the then-styled " compound radicals " exerted great influence on the prevailing views of chemical composition.
However, in 1833, Berzelius reverted to his earlier opinion that oxygenated radicals were incompatible with his electrochemical theory; he regarded benzoyl as an oxide of the radical C 14 H 1Q, which he named " picramyl " (from 7rucp6s, bitter, and &uvyalk, almond), the peroxide being anhydrous benzoic acid; and he dismissed the views of Gay Lussac and Dumas that ethylene was the radical of ether, alcohol and ethyl chloride, setting up in their place the idea that ether was a suboxide of ethyl, (C2H5)20, which was analogous to K 2 0, while alcohol was an oxide of a radical C 2 H 6; thus annihilating any relation between these two compounds.
Notwithstanding these errors, the value of the " ethyl theory " was perceived; other radicals - formyl, methyl, amyl, acetyl, &c. - were characterized; Dumas, in 1837, admitted the failure of the etherin theory; and, in company with Liebig, he defined organic chemistry as the " chemistry of compound radicals."
This rejuvenation of the notion of radicals rapidly gained favour; and the complete fusion of the radical theory with the theory of types was not long delayed.