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.
More than ever at the mercy of the Radicals and of their revolutionary allies, Rudini continued so to administer public affairs that subversive propaganda and associations obtained unprecedented extension.
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.
Lavoisier, to whom chemistry was primarily the chemistry of oxygen compounds, having developed the radical theory initiated by Guyton de Morveau, formulated the hypothesis that vegetable and animal substances were oxides of radicals composed of carbon and hydrogen; moreover, since simple radicals (the elements) can form more than one oxide, he attributed the same character to his hydrocarbon radicals: he considered, for instance, sugar to be a neutral oxide and oxalic acid a higher oxide of a certain radical, for, when oxidized by nitric acid, sugar yields oxalic acid.
2 Compound radicals came to be regarded as the immediate constituents of organic compounds; and, at first, a determination of their empirical composition was supposed to be sufficient to characterize them.