Records of a Family of Engineers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Records of a Family of Engineers.

Title:  Records of a Family of Engineers

Author:  Robert Louis Stevenson

Release Date:  June, 1995 [EBook #280]
[This file was first posted on July 9, 1995]

Edition:  10

Language:  English

Character set encoding:  ASCII

*** Start of the project gutenberg EBOOK, Records of A family of engineers ***

Transcribed from the 1912 Chatto & Windus edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk Additional proofing by Peter Barnes.

RECORDS OF A FAMILY OF ENGINEERS

INTRODUCTION:  THE SURNAME OF STEVENSON

From the thirteenth century onwards, the name, under the various disguises of Stevinstoun, Stevensoun, Stevensonne, Stenesone, and Stewinsoune, spread across Scotland from the mouth of the Firth of Forth to the mouth of the Firth of Clyde.  Four times at least it occurs as a place-name.  There is a parish of Stevenston in Cunningham; a second place of the name in the Barony of Bothwell in Lanark; a third on Lyne, above Drochil Castle; the fourth on the Tyne, near Traprain Law.  Stevenson of Stevenson (co.  Lanark) swore fealty to Edward I in 1296, and the last of that family died after the Restoration.  Stevensons of Hirdmanshiels, in Midlothian, rode in the Bishops’ Raid of Aberlady, served as jurors, stood bail for neighbours—­Hunter of Polwood, for instance—­and became extinct about the same period, or possibly earlier.  A Stevenson of Luthrie and another of Pitroddie make their bows, give their names, and vanish.  And by the year 1700 it does not appear that any acre of Scots land was vested in any Stevenson. {2a}

Here is, so far, a melancholy picture of backward progress, and a family posting towards extinction.  But the law (however administered, and I am bound to aver that, in Scotland, ’it couldna weel be waur’) acts as a kind of dredge, and with dispassionate impartiality brings up into the light of day, and shows us for a moment, in the jury-box or on the gallows, the creeping things of the past.  By these broken glimpses we are able to trace the existence of many other and more inglorious Stevensons, picking a private way through the brawl that makes Scots history.  They were members of Parliament for Peebles, Stirling, Pittenweem, Kilrenny, and Inverurie.  We find them burgesses of Edinburgh; indwellers in Biggar, Perth, and Dalkeith.  Thomas was the forester of Newbattle Park, Gavin was a baker, John a maltman, Francis a chirurgeon, and ‘Schir William’ a priest.  In the feuds of Humes and Heatleys, Cunninghams, Montgomeries, Mures, Ogilvies, and Turnbulls, we find them inconspicuously involved, and apparently getting rather better than they gave.  Schir William (reverend gentleman) was cruellie slaughtered on the Links of Kincraig in 1582; James (’in

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Records of a Family of Engineers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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