11 AUGUST 1866, Page 3

Earl Russell presided on Wednesday at an annual meeting of

the Devon Association for the Advaneement,of Literature, and of course strayed in his speech into polities. His observations, how- ever, were general, and of unusual interest. He thought there was little danger of any general decline in Europe, all changes tending towards greater stability, which may, however, we must remark, be as Mr. Mill fears—stereotyped. Europe was pressing forward towards better government without much certainty as to its form, the English system being too complicated and too sloe, for imita- tion—a great admission from Earl Russell. He doubted the modern utility of little States. They nourished great men when there was room In them for the orator and the warrior as well as the poet and artist, but in the small States of to-day great men languish, as in the Principalities of Germany, and he might have added in the Cantons of Switzerland. It was strange that while the political tendency was towards the fusion of small States into great, the theolngical tendency was towards infinite attbdivision, a truth if by theology is meant the study of dogma, not a truth if it involves the whole idea of the moral relation of man to God. and his fellow oreatures. Men tend to an infinite variety of con- victions, say as to the meaning of inspiration, but to unity as to the treatment of non combatants in war. Catholics and Protestants differ more than ever about the real presence, but act together in prohibiting the execution of people either for faith or infidelity.