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PREFACE
The addresses made to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Institution of Civil Engineers, at the opening meetings of the session—1851, contained obituary notices of Robert Stevenson. The late Alan Stevenson, his eldest son, also wrote a short Memoir of his father, which was printed for private circulation.

But Robert Stevenson’s long practice as a Civil Engineer—the important works he executed—and the valuable contributions he made to Engineering and Scientific literature, seem to me to require a fuller notice of his life than has hitherto been given.

This has been attempted in the following Memoir, which will be found to consist of extracts from Mr. Stevenson’s Professional Reports—of notes from his Diary—and of communications to Scientific Journals and Societies, between the years 1798 and 1843, when he retired from active practice.

vi These papers embrace a wide field of Engineering, including Lighthouses, Harbours, Rivers, Roads, Railways, Ferries, Bridges, and other cognate subjects.

Some of them describe Engineering practice which is now obsolete, but not on that account, I think, uninteresting to such modern Engineers as have regard for the antiquities of their Profession.

Some of them, I am aware, can only be appreciated by those who are specially interested in the city of Edinburgh.

All of them will, I venture to think, be found worthy of preservation as interesting Engineering records of an era that has passed away. It formed no part of my duty to criticise them, in the light of modern Engineering, and, unaltered in form of expression or statement of opinion, they are now reproduced as they came from my father’s pen.

I offer no apology for presenting these Extracts as the outlines of the life of one who occupied a prominent place among the Civil Engineers who practised during the beginning of the present, and end of the last century, shortly after British Engineering, with Smeaton as its founder, may be said to have had its origin.
D. S.

Edinburgh, July 1878.


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