A Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee Houses
Whereas it is most apparent, that the Multitude of Coffee-Houses of late years set up and kept within this Kingdom, the Dominion of Wales, and the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the great resort of idle and disaffected persons to them, have produced very evil and dangerous effects; as well for that many Tradesmen and others, do therein misspend much of their time, which might and probably would otherwise be employed in and about their Lawful Callings and Affairs; but also, for that in such Houses, and by occasion of the meetings of such persons therein, divers false, malitious and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad, to the Defamation of His Majesties Government, and to the disturbance of the Peace and Quiet of the Realm; His Majesty hath thought it fit and necessary, that the said Coffee-houses be (for the future) put down and suppressed, and doth (with the advice of His Privy Council) by this His Royal Proclamation, Strictly Charge and Command all manner of persons, that they or any of them do not presume from and after the Tenth Day of January next ensuing, to keep any Publick Coffee-house, or to utter or sell by retail, in his, her or their house or houses (to be spent or consumed within the same) any Coffee, Chocolet, Sherbett or Tea, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost perils.
And for the better accomplishment of this his Majesties Royal Pleasure, His Majesty doth hereby will and require the Justices of Peace within their several Counties, and the Chief Magistrates in all Cities and Towns Corporate, that they do at their next respective General Sessions of the peace (to be holden within their several and respective Counties, Divisions and Precincts) recall and make void all Licences at any time heretofore granted, for the selling or retailing of any Coffee, Chocolet, Sherbett or Tea. And that they or any of them do not (for the future) make or grant any such License or Licenses, to any person or persons whatsoever. And his Majesty doth further hereby declare, that if any person or persons shall take upon them, him or her, after his, her or their License or Licenses recalled, or otherwise without License, to sell by retail (as aforesaid) any of the Liquors aforesaid, that then the person or persons so offending, shall not only be proceeded against, upon the Statute made in the Fifteenth year of his Majesties Reign (which gives the forfeiture of five pounds for every month wherein he, she or they shall offend therein) but shall (in case they persevere to offend) receive the severest punishments that may by Law be inflicted.
Given at Our Court at Whitehall, this Nine and Twentieth day of December 1675. in the Seven and Twentieth year of Our Reign.
God save the King.