Prostitutes, and prostitution, were notoriously visible in eighteenth-century European culture, a visibility that was amply re ected in political and cultural discourses. Commonly understood as an index of the moral temperature of society, the perceived increase in prostitution in the major cities of Europe o ered its own conclusions. Moral reformers, who considered prostitutes a ‘common nuisance’, were numerous. In London, the Rev. William Dodd, writing in the Public Ledger in 1760, discovered in prostitution a telling sign of public vice:

Impudence no longer courts the shade. Let any man walk up a certain street leading from the Strand, and he will see numbers of unhappy prostitutes in the broad daylight, plying their miserable trade! Cannot this be prevented? – If not, where is decency? If it can, where are our magistrates? ey are not ignorant of these things.1