4. Persistence of the Individuals.—The fact to which we now refer may be symbolized by what goes on in a mixture of chemical elements. Let us suppose a case of a mixture containing five or more elements. The volumes of the elements are in various proportions. One of the elements is present in such small quantities that it may be discoverable only after the last refinement of analysis. Yet when that obscure element is found, it is itself; it exercises its own reaction; it is not forced to abdicate its peculiarity; it is equal with each of the other elements in reacting with each of its own essential properties at their actual value within the mixture. Hydrogen and oxygen have the same affinities when immersed in bas when they are undisturbed by a third party. In a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen with other elements, each retains its proportional force and its own peculiarities, subject only to the preponderating force and quality of the other constituents of the mixture. Oxygen does not become nitrogen, though it may be lost in the volume of nitrogen. Hydrogen does not become chlorine, though in almost pure nitrogen it may be unable to join with enough oxygen to distinguish itself from chlorine in its relation to combustion. Such force and value as each element has, however, it retains in the mixture, and whenever the  conditions of the mixture are such that the several elements are called to show themselves, the known characteristics of all alike reappear. There is similar permanency of character, or similar retention of identity, even when that identity is concealed in the mass of other elements. In the social process, under normal conditions, the state of the individual is analogous with that of portions of matter in a mechanical mixture, rather than with atoms of the same element in a chemical compound. (Small 1905:595-6)
SMALL, Albion. 1905. General Sociology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.