The City-Wifes Petition Against Coffee

City-Wifes PETITION,

Presented to the Publick Consideration, the Grand Inconveniences that accrue to their S E X, from the Excessive Drinking of that Drying, and Enfeebling L I Q U O R.



To the right honourable, the Worshipfull Court of Female Assistants,

The humble petition and Address of several Thousands of Buxome Good Women, Languishing in Extremity of want.


THat since 'tis Reckon'd amongst the Glories of Our Native Country, To be a Paradise for Women: The same in our Apprehensions can consist in nothing more than the brisk activity of our Men, who in former Ages were justly esteemed the Ablest performers in Christendom; But to our unspeakable Grief, we find of late a very sensible decay of that true Old English Valour; Our Gallants being every way of Frenchified, that they are become meer Cock Sparrows flattering things that come on Sa Sa, with a world of Fury, but are not able to stand to it, and in the very first Charge fall down flat before us. Never did Men wear greater Breeches, or carry less in them of any Mettle whatsoever. There was a glorious Dispensation (‘twas surely in the Golden Age) when Lusty Lads of seven or eight hundred years old, Got Sons and Daughters; and we have read, how a Prince of Spain was forced to make a Law that Men should not Repeat the Grand Kindness to their Wives above Nine times in a night: But alas! alas! those for ward days are gone, the dull Lubbards want a Spur now, rather than a Bridle be-ing so far from doing any works of Supererrogation, that we find them not capable of performing those Devoirs which their Duty and our Expectations Exact.

The Occasion of Insufferable Disaster, after a serious Enquiry, and [Page] Discussion of the point by the Learned of the Faculty, we can attribute to nothing more than the Excessive use of that newfangled, abominable,heathenish Liquor called Coffee, which Riffling Nature of her choicest Treasure, and drying up the Radical Moisture,has so Eunacht our Husbands,and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age, and as unfruitfull as those Desarts, whence that unhappy Berry is said to be brought.

For the continual sipping of this pittiful Drink, is enough to bewitch Men of two and twenty, and tie up the Codpice point without a Charm. It tenders them that use it as Lean as Famine, as Riweld as Envy, or an old meager Hagg overridden by an Incubus. They come from it with nothing moist but their snotty Noses, nothing stiff but their Joints, nor standing but their Ears: They pretend ‘twill keep them walking, but we find by scurvy Experience, they sleep quietly enough after it. A Betrothed Queen might trust her self a Bed with one of them: nor can all the Art we use revive them from this Lethargy, so unfit they are for Action, that like young Trainbandmen when called upon duty, their Amunition is wanting: peradventure their present, but cannot give fire, or at least but flesh in the Pan, instead of doing Execution.

Now let any Doating Superstitious Cato’s shake their Goatish Beards, and tax us of Immodesty for this Declaration, since ‘tis a publick Grievance and cries aloud for Reformation weight and Measure, ‘tis well known, should be throughout the World, and there is torment like Famishment. Experience witnesses our Damage, and Necessity (which easily supercedes all the Laws of Decency) justified our complaints: For can any Woman of sense and spirit endure with Patience, that when privileg’d by Legal Ceremonies, she approaches the Nuptial Bed, expecting a Man that with sprightful Embraces, should answer the Vigour of her Flames, she on the contrary should only meet a Bed full of bones, and hug me as ger useless Crops rendered as sapless as a Kix, and dryer than a Pumicestone, by the perpetual Fumes of Tobacco, and bewitching Effects of this most pernicious Coffee, whereby Nature is Enfeebled, the Offspring of our Mighty Ancestors Dwindled into a Succession of Aces and Pignies: And

—The Age of Man.
Now Cramp’t into an Inch, that was a Span.

Now is this (though more than enough) all the ground of our complaint: For besides, we have reason to apprehend and grow Jealows, That Men by frequenting these Stygian Taphouses will usurp on our Prerogative of Tatling,and soon learn to excell us in Talkativeness: a Quality wherein our Sex has ever claimed preheminence: For here like so many Frogs in a puddle, they sup up muddy Water, and murmur insignificant Notes till half a dozen of them out babble an equal number of us at Gossiping, talking all at once in confusion, and runing from point to point as insensibly, and as swiftly, as ever the Ingenious [Page] Pole wheel could run divisions on the Base-Viol; Yet in all their Prattle, every one abounds in his own Sense, as stifly as the G. K. did at the late Dispute at Turners Hall and submits to the Reasons of no other Mortal: So that there being neither Moderator nor Rules observed, you may as soon fill a Quart Pot with Syllogisms, as profit by their Discourses.

Certainly our Country-mens Pallats are become as Fanatical as their Brains; How else is it possible , they should Apostatize from the good old Primitive way of Ale drinking, to run a Whoring after such Variety of Destructive Forreign Liquors, to triffle away their Time: Scald their Chaps, and spend their Money all for a little Base, Blacl, Thick, Nasty, Bitter, Stinking, Nauseous Puddle-Water: Yet ( as all Witches have their Charms ) So this ugly Turkish Enchantress by certain Invisible Wyres attracks both Rich and Poor; So that those that have scarce Two-pence to buy their Childrens Bread, must spend a penny each Evening in this Insipid Stuff. Nor can we send one of our Husbands to call a Midwife, or to borrow a Glister Pipe, but he must stay an hour by the way,Drinking his two Dishes; and two Pipes.

At these Houses, ( as in the Springs of Africk ) meet all Sorts of Animals, whence follows the Production of a Thousand Monster Opinions and Absurdities; Yet for being dangerous to the Government, we dare be their Compurgators, as well knowing them to be too Tame and too Talkative to make any Desparate Politicians: For though they may now and than Destroy a Fleet, or kill ten Thousand of the Turk, more than all the Considerations can do, Yet this is still in their politick Capacities, for by their personal lour they are scarce fit to be of the Life Guard to a Cherry Tree: And therefore, though they frequently have not Contests about most Important Subjects; Whether the great Turk be a Lutheran or a Calvinist , Who Cain’s Father in Law was, &c Yet they never fight about them with any other, save our Weapon, the Tongue.

Some of our Sots pretend tippling of this boiled Soot cures them of being Drunk; but we have reason rather to Conclude it makes them so, because we find them not able to stand after it: ‘Tis at best but a kind of Earthing a Fox to Hunt him more eagerly afterward: A rare Method of Good Husbandry; to enable a Man to be Drunk three times a Day ? Just such a remedy for Drunkenness, as the Popes allowing of Stews, is a means to prevent Fornication: The Coffee-House being in Truth, only a Pimp to the Tavern, a Relishing Soop Preparative to a fresh Debauch: For when People have swill‘d themselves with a morning draught of more Ale than a Brewars Horse can carry, hither they come for a Penny Worth of Settles brain, where they are sure to meet enew Lazy Pragmatical Companions; [Page] that resort here to prattle of News, that they neither understand, nor are concern‘d in: And after an Hours impertinent Chat, begin to consider a Bottle of Claret would do Excellent well before Dinner , Whereupon to the Bush they all March together, till every one of them is as Drunk as a Drum, and then back again to the CoffeeHouse to drink themselves Sober; Where three or four Dishes a piece, and Smoaking, makes their Throats as dry as Mount Aetna enflamed with Brimstone: So that they must away to the next Red Lattice, to quench them with a dozen or two of Ale, which at last growing Nauseous, one of them begins to extol the Blood of the Grape, what rare Lampoon, and Racy Canary may be had at the Mytre: Say’s thou so? cry’s another, Let’s then go and replenish therewith our Earthen Vessels: So once more they troop to the Sackshop, till they are Drunker than before; And then by a Retrograde Motion, stagger back to Soberize themselves with Coffee. Thus like Tinnis Balls between too Rackets, The Fopps our Husbands are Ban dred too and fro all Day between the CoffeeHouse and Tavern, whilst we poor Souls sit Weeping all alone till Twelve at Night, and when at last they come to Bed, smoakt like a West Phalia Hogs head, we have no more comfort of them than from a Shotten Herring or a dryed Bulrush; Which forces us to make up this Lamentation, and sing.

Tom Farthing, Tom Farthing, where hast thou been, Tom Farthing ? Twelve a Clock e’er you come in, Two a Clock e’er you begin,
And then at last can do nothing Would make a Woman weary, would make a Woman weary, & c.:

WHEREFORE, the Premisses considered, and to the end that our Just Rights may be restored, and all the ancient Priviledges of our Sex preserved Inviolable; That our Husbands may give us some other Testimonies of their being Men, besides their Beards, and wearing of Empty Pantaloons: That they no more run the hazard of being Cuckol’d by Dildo’s: But returning to the good old strengthening Liquors of our Forefathers; That Natures Exchequer may once again be Replenisht, and a Race of Lusty Hero’s beget, able by their Achievements, to equal the Glory’s of our Ancestors.

WE Humbly Pray, That our Trusty Patrons would improve your Interest , That henceforth the Drinking C O F F E E, may in severe Penalties be fobidden to all Persons under the Age of Threescore; And that instead thereof, Lusty nappers Beer; Cock Ale, Cordial Canary’s, Restoring Malago’s, and Back recruiting Chochalet, be Recommended to General Use, throughout the Utopian Territories.

In Hopes of which Glorious Reformation, Your Petitioners shall readily Prostrate themselves, and ever Pray, & c.

LONDON, Printed for A: W: 1700.

This is the full version of the original text


ale, beer, drink, famine, poor

Source text

Title: The City-Wifes Petition Against Coffee

Author: Anon

Publication date: 1700

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing / C4362A Physical description: 4 p. Copy from: Harvard University Library Reel position: Wing / 135:11

Digital edition

Original author(s): Anon

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

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