narratives o the prostitute, and the reproduction o a stereotype which wouldallegedly prove resilient in later decades.Tese early authors varied in their ability (or desire) to defne their subjectmatter. albot avoided delineating a working defnition o prostitution. Bevanmerely described prostitution (rather than prostitutes) as ‘a system o unmiti-gated pollution and woe’.
However, ait and Wardlaw made a point o defning the ‘prostitute’ and, interestingly, distinguished between the act o prostitutionand the ‘character’ or ‘individual’ that perormed it. Regardless o the possiblecauses or a woman’s recourse to acts o prostitution, ait argued that ‘the pros-titute is generally a person who openly delivers hersel up to a lie o impurity and licentiousness, who is indiscriminate in the selection o her lovers, and whodepends or her livelihood upon the proceeds arising rom a lie o prostitu-tion’.
Wardlaw claimed that while he considered ornication, ‘whoredom’ and prostitution as entailing a woman’s surrendering o her virtue, it was ‘the volun-tary
repetition of the act
’ that made a woman a prostitute.
Moreover, Wardlaw added, the term ‘prostitute’ was a ‘designation o
Despite the appar-ent clarity and distinction in terms o the act o prostitution and the identity o the prostitute in these statements, most o these texts reerred to a variety o women o dierent ages and occupations, who became prostitutes rom a variety o causes, and who challenged this apparent ease o defnition.Most o the authors o these early texts on prostitution attempted to clas-siy prostitutes, most oen by their type o residence, but their admission o theextent o clandestine prostitution oen undermined such classifcations. Ryanclaimed that there were three divisions o prostitutes: women who worked rom private residences or ‘bad houses’; streetwalkers who used ‘places o accommoda-tion’; and soldiers and sailors’ women.
But Ryan also included needleworkers, women who supplemented their regular wages, ‘kept mistresses’, servants, mar-ried women and widows in his second ‘streetwalking’ category. ait reerred tothese latter examples as ‘sly prostitutes’, and dierent rom ‘kept mistresses’ andthe ‘inmates o brothels’.
albot’s classifcation o prostitutes also depended ontypes o residence – regular brothels, dress houses and accommodation houses– but noted that public houses, saloons and ships could also be used or prostitu-tion.
Like Ryan and ait beore him, albot also remarked on the many other women who could be added to the class o prostitute: servants, milliners andeven some middle and upper-class ladies.
Attempts at estimating the numbersin this prostitute class varied but most authors reerred to the same statistical esti-mates and the number o 80,000 (or London) as the highest approximation.
Another common eature in the works o ait, albot and their ellow observers was their discussion o the various causes attributed to prostitution.Some authors picked out certain causes or special attention, but the list o possible actors was long. Wardlaw, or example, noted that the causes authors