Political chemistry

Political chemistry (India)
A 2017 “political chemistry” cartoon (Ѻ), form The Times of India, indicating that things are exploding in Indian, with the mixture of religion and politics.
In hmolscience, political chemistry refers to []

In 1783, William Cowper, in his poem “On Friendship”, stated the following: [1]

“Courtier and patriot cannot mix
Their heterogeneous polities
Without an effervescence,
Such as of salts with lemon-juice;
But which is rarely known to induce,
Like that, a coalescence.”

In 1803, Thomas Pownall, the British governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1757 to 1760, in his “Memorial Address to the Sovereigns of Europe and the Atlantic”, stated the following: [2]

“Must, by some dissolvent, by some counteracting elective attractions, first loosen the parts of this combustible, and then, by a kind of political chemistry, draw our the caloric; otherwise, it will neither be extinguished nor compressed, but must, in spite of all policy, of all force, explode.”

Here, to note, the mention of drawing out the caloric, i.e. heat, from the system; is an early form of political thermodynamics, caloric being replaced, in 1865, by entropy.

In 1894, John Spollon, in his article “Among the Bards”, on German polyintellect Johann Goethe’s 1809 Elective Affinities, in which he characterizes Goethe as the father of affinity, wherein, among other things, he compares the effervescent liquored mixing of mix democrats and republicans to being akin to pouring water over some antacids (seidlitz powder); the full article of which is as follows: [3]

Goethe, whose name in charity to young pronouncers should be spelled Getty, was the father of affinity. If there is a more dangerous combination than a woman, a kerosene can and damp kindlings, it is a poet, an inquiring mind and the science called chemistry. While tinkering with the science in an amateur way. Getty, the German Shakespeare, discovered, what every chemist knew, that there are certain atoms that possess elective affinities for certain other atoms; that is, they were intended by nature to meet with and adhere to each other, forming a perfect whole. He was not the only poet who got an idea from the elements. Cowper (1783) noticing that salts and certain acids have no affinity for each other, wrote: "Courtier and patriot cannot mix, their heterogeneous politics, without an effervescence, like that of salts with lemon juice."

When, in mixing your seidlitz powder (Ѻ), after placing together in one tumbler the contents of the blue paper and the white paper, you pour some water on them and they kick up a tremendous fuss, the thought may occur to you: take an handful of democrats and a handful of republicans, put them together just before election, pour some whiskey on them and the result will be the same as when mixing a seidlitz powder [antacid pill] [N1], because they have not an affinity for each other.

Political chemistry
In 1894, John Spollon, citing the political poetry of William Cowper (1783) and the human chemistry of Goethe (1809), stated that democrats and republicans, mixed with alcohol, react and effervescerate, in a form of political chemistry, like an antacid pill dropped in water.
Even so the thought came to Getty, that every man and every woman was born to meet sooner or later one certain woman or one certain man who was born for him or her — his or her affinity. And he wrote a great story based upon that idea.

Come with all thy pervading gases,
Thy crucibles retorts and glasses,
Thy fearful energies and wonders.
Thy dazzling lights and mimic thunders."

Come, and do your durndest, and you won't be able to do one-tenth of the mischief that can be worked by the pen in the hands of a man who knows how to move the millions. There was never a story written that could compare with his for popularity and results. Its effects were felt not only in his own time and country, but all over the civilized world and for generations. It was the cause of murder, suicide, debauchery and despair.

How easy it made things for a man whether married or single! If single, the first pretty maid he met was his affinity and they married in haste. In the course of time he meets another maid — prettier than his wife. All right: it seems he made a mistake that first trip, quite natural; and no doubt his wife, if she has read the great story, is of the same opinion, and has already made the acquaintance of her own genuine Simon Pure Affinity; or if she is not that sort of a woman, she makes the discovery that there is an affinity between her husband's new flame and a horsewhip and loses no time in bringing them together. And so it goes on, and everything is made easy and philosophical and pleasant for libertines, and all because a poet knew no better than to monkey with the elements and apply their peculiarities to human nature. (To be continued.)

The article seems to have been continued in a column later that much entitled “Among the Bards”, albeit focused on American poets in general, and not mentioning Goethe further. [2]

To give a simple idea of what Spollon here is alluding to, in his comparison of a democrat-republican reaction to that of an antacid in water or in stomach acid, the following is the reaction of the popular antacid Tums (calcium carbonate, CaCO3) with HCl (stomach acid), the the gas product of carbon dioxide CO2 being given off:

 2HCl(aq) + CaCO_3(s) \rightarrow CaCl_2(aq) + CO_2(g) + H_2O(l) \,

(add discussion)

See also
Political physics
Political thermodynamics

N1. Seidlitz powder (Ѻ) is an an early type of antacid pill, composed of a mixture of tartaric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium sodium tartrate, and is used as a mild cathartic by dissolving it in water and drinking, after which the powder combines with gastric juices to develop intestinal gases which are somewhat helpful in evacuating the user’s bowels; and acid-based type reaction

1. Cowper, William. (1782). “On Friendship”, in: The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper (editor: William Hayley) (pg. 219). J. Seagrave, 1803.
2. Pownall, Governor. (1803). “Memorial Address to the Sovereigns of Europe and the Atlantic” (Ѻ), London, Debrett.
3. (a) Spollon, John. (1894). “Among the Bards”, Truth, and Opinion, Supplement to Fibre and Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the Cotton and Woolen Trade, 20(509):1113, Dec 1.
(b) Spollon, John. (1894). “Among the Bards”, Truth, and Opinion, Supplement to Fibre and Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the Cotton and Woolen Trade, 20(512):1149, Dec 22.

Further reading
● Author. (1929). “Political Chemistry” (abs), Journal of Chemical Education, 6(10):1786.

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