Page:The future of democracy.djvu/28

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Remember that in your ideal of the State, That high thought we must keep constantly in mind if we would reach the very best that is open to us. For it is the spiritual side of a people, after all, that raises it to its highest level. Material things are essential, I do not believe you can save people's souls unless you look after their bodies. But when you have looked after their bodies you have not done everything; their souls still remain to be saved. You must see that people are encouraged to save their souls by keeping up high ideals in the State.

I sat for a quarter of a century for a remarkable constituency, the constituency of East Lothian, It is an extraordinary county. My constituents were mainly agricultural labourers, but quite different from your South of England agricultural labourers. They are men most of whom are well paid, live in good houses, and have high ideals of education. When you go into a cottage you find one son follows his father's occupation and becomes a ploughman; the second becomes a minister, the third a doctor, and the fourth a schoolmaster. That is the way they went, and they had these tremendously high standards, and they were a contented people. They were, on the whole, very moderate in their opinions, I never got in by a very large majority—but, on the other hand, they always did return me—but by a majority which was small enough to show they kept an eye on me. I learned something of the ideals of democracy in the twenty-five years I represented them. When I went into those spotless and speckless cottages there I saw books, and there was an atmosphere of education there, and I used to feel that these men were not what was ordinarily understood by labourers, but were people with mind and knowledge just like what was possessed by their most highly educated neighbours. They could give you, for example, most sound and sane opinions, not only upon religion and politics, but on the poetry of Robert Burns and other gems of literature.