The women's petition against coffee (1674)
-- Digital version: Janet Clarkson (Australia), Thomas Gloning (Germany), 12.7.2003
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<<Cover>>

THE
WOMEN'S
PETITION
AGAINST
COFFEE
REPRESENTING
TO
PUBLICK CONSIDERATION
THE
Grand INCONVENIENCIES accruing
to their SEX from the Excessive
Use of that Drying, Enfeebling
LIQUOR.

Presented to the Right Honorable the
Keepers of the Liberty of VENUS.

-------------------------------------------------
By a Well-willer
-------------------------------------------------

London, Printed 1674.

<<p.1>>

To the Right Honorable the Keepers
of the Liberties of Venus; The
Worshipful Court of Female-Assistants,
&c.

The Humble Petition and Address of
several Thousands of Buxome Good-Women,
Languishing in Extremity
of Want.

SHEWETH,

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 Christendome; But to our unspeakable
Grief, we find of late a very sensible Decay of that
true Old English Vigour; our Gallants being every way so
Frenchified, that they are become meer Cock-sparrows,
fluttering things that come on Sa sa, with a world of Fury,
<<p.2>>
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 Ladds 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 forwards Days are gone, The dull Lubbers want a
Spur now, rather than a Bridle: being so far from doing
any works of Supererregation that we find them not
capable of performing those Devoirs which their Duty, and
our Expectations Exact.

The Occasion of which Insufferable Disaster, after a serious
Enquiry, and 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 Treasures, and Drying up the Radical
Moisture
, has so Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled
our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent,
as Age, and as unfruitful 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 renders them that use it as Lean
as Famine, as Rivvel'd as Envy, or an old meager Hagg
over-ridden by an Incubus. They come from it with
nothing moist but their snotty Noses, nothing stiffe but their
Joints, nor standing but their Ears: They pretend 'twill
keep them Waking, but we find by scurvy Experience, they
<<p.3>>
sleep quietly enough after it. A Betrothed Queen migh
trust her self a bed with one of them, without the nice
Caution of a Sword between them: nor can all the Art
we use revive them from this Lethargy, so unfit they are for
Action, that like young Train-band-men when called
upon Duty, their Amunition is wanting; peradventure
they Present, but cannot give Fire, or at least do but flash
in the pan
, instead of doing Execution.

Nor 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
go throughout the world, and there is no torment like
Famishment. Experience witnesses our Damage, and
Necessity (which easily supersedes all the Laws of Decency)
justifies our complaints: For can any Woman of Sense or
Spirit eudure [>endure] with Patience, that when priviledg'd by
Legal Ceremonies, she approaches the Nuptial Bed,
expecting that a Man with Sprightly Embraces, should
Answer the Vigour of her Flames, she on the contrary should
only meet A Bedful of Bones, and hug a meager useless
Corpse rendred as sapless as a Kixe, and dryer than a
Pumice-Stone, by the perpetual Fumes of Tobacco, and
bewitching effects of this most pernitious COFFEE, whereby
Nature is Enfeebled, the Off-spring of our Mighty Ancestors
Dwindled into a Succession of Apes and Pignies: and

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

Nor is this (though more than enough) All the ground
of our Complaint: For besides, we have reason to apprehend
and grow Jealous, That Men by frequenting these
Stygian Tap-houses will usurp on our Prerogative of
<<p.4>>
Tatling, and soon learn to exeel us in Talkativeness: a
Quality wherein our Sex has ever Claimed preheminence:
For here like so many Frogs in a puddle, they sup muddy
water, and murmur insignificant notes till half a dozen of
them out-babble an equal number of us at a Gossipping, talking
all at once in Confusion, and running from point to
point as insensibly, and as swiftly, as ever the Ingenious
Pole-wheel could run divisions on the Base-viol; yet in all
their prattle every one abounds in his own sense, as stiffly
as a Quaker at the late Barbican dispute, and submits to
the Reasons of no other mortal: so that there being neither
Moderator nor Rules observ'd, you may as soon fill a
Quart pot with Syllogismes, as profit by their Disconrses. [>Discourses.]

Certainly our Coutrymens pallates are become as Fanatical
as their Brains; how else is't possible they should
Apostatize from the good old primitive way of Ale-drinking,
to run a whoreing after such variety of distructive Foraign
Liquors, to trifle away their time, scald their Chops,
and spend their Money, all for a little base, black, thick,
nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous
Puddle-water: Yet (as all
Witches have their Charms) so this ugly Turkish Enchantress
by certain Invisible VVyres attracts both Rich and
Poor; so that those that have scarce Twopence to buy
their Children Bread, must spend a penny each evening in
this Insipid Stuff: Nor can we send one of our Husbands
to Call a Midwife, or borrow a Glister-pipe, but he must stay
an hour by the way drinking his two Dishes, & two Pipes.

At these Houses (as at the Springs in Afric) meet all
sorts of Animals, whence follows the production of a
thousand Monster Opinions and Absurdities; yet for being
dangerous to Government, we dare be their Compurgaters,
as well knowing them to be too tame and too talkative
<<p.5>>
to make any desperate Polititians: For though they may
now and then destroy a Fleet, or kill ten thousand of the French,
more than all the Confederates can do, yet this is still in their
politick Capacities, for by their personal valour they are scarce
fit to be of the Life-guard to a Cherry-tree: And therefore,
though they frequently have hot Contests about most Important
Subjects; as what colour the Red Sea is of; 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 Brewers horse can carry, hither
they come for a pennyworth of Settle-brain, where they are
sure to meet enow lazy pragmatical Companions, that resort
here to prattle of News, that they neither understand, nor are
concerned in; and after an hours impertinent Chat, begin to
consider a Bottle of Claret would do excellent well before
Dinner; wherupon to the Bush they all march together, till every
one of them is as Drunk as a Drum, and then back again to the
Coffe-house to drink themselves sober; where three or four
dishes a piece, and smoaking, makes their throats as dry as
Mount Ætna enflam'd with Brimstone; so that they must away
to the next Red Lattice to quench them with a dozen or two of
<<p.6>>
Ale; which at last growing nauseous, one of them begins to extol the
blood of the Grape, what rare Langoon, and Racy Canary may be had
at the Miter: Saist thou so? cries another, Let's then go and replenish there,
with our Earthen Vessels
; So once more they troop to the Sack-shop till
they are drunker than before; and then by a retrograde motion, stagger
back to Soberize themselves with Coffee; Thus like Tennis Balls between
two Rackets, the Fopps our Husbands are bandied to and fro all day
between the Coffee-house and Tavern, whilst we poor Souls sit mopeing all
alone till Twelve at night, and when at last they come to bed smoakt like a
Westphalia Hogs-head we have no more comfort of them, than from a
shotten Herring or a dryed Bulrush; which forces us to take 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, weary,
weary, would make a Woman wear, &c

Wherefore the Premises considered, and to the end that our Just
Rights may be restored, and all the Antient 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 strengthning Liquors of our Forefathers;
that Natures Exchequer may once again be replenisht, and a Race of
Lusty Hero's begot, able by their Atchievments, to equal the Glories
of our Ancesters.

We Humbly Pray, That you our Trusty Patrons would improve your
Interest, that henceferth [>henceforth] the Drinking COFFEE may on severe
penalties be forbidden to all Persons under the Age of Threescore; and that
instead thereof, Lusty nappy Beer, Cock-Ale, Cordial Canaries, Restoring
Malago's
, and Back-recruiting Chocholes 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.

FINIS.


12.7.2003