Zaccheus the peasant

re previous post : it occurs to me that this "conservative" stance, so described, is not so different from the attitude of the medieval (or older) peasant, who hides his grain under the cellar floor whenever the Royal Tax-Collector, or the Army, or the local mercenary band comes around, to grab what they need. Not the most civic-minded attitude, I suppose... but maybe it's very local.

As it happens my great-etc-grandfather Zaccheus Gould, of Topsfield, Massachusetts, penned what must be one of the earliest public petitions to government authority in America. I found it long ago in the old Essex County record books. It dates back to the 1630s. Zaccheus & his fellow farmers petitioned the Massachusetts colonial government to allow the young men of the township to skip militia training practice during the summer months, because said military duty greatly increaseth the hardship on farmers, as it interferes with the haying.

Zaccheus' petition appears in the long village-history poem, In RI (ably translated into Italian by Anny Ballardini).

(- as I say, this attitude may strike you as not very civic-minded - as rather small-minded & tight-fisted, conservative... but I would not be surprised if you also find traces of it in your own family history.)

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