MCADAM, John Loudon. ~ Remarks on the present system of road making with observations, deduced from practice and experience, with a view to a revision of the existing laws, and the introduction of improvement in the method of making, repairing, and preserving roads, and defending the road funds from misapplication.
First edition. Pp. 32. 8vo., bound in recent blue wrappers. Some browning to first and last pages, otherwise very good.
McAdam’s system relied on layers of carefully graded stone laid on a well-drained base; the topmost layer of stones were to be broken by workers with hammers into rough pieces weighing no more than 6 oz and that would fit into the mouth. His techniques were simple, effective and economical and his process became of global importance and endured.
He revolutionised the process of road building: ‘By the early nineteenth century the fact that the methods of road construction were haphazarad, and the surveyors largely untrained and of low esteem, was causing official as well as private concern. Sir John Sinclair, chairman of the board of agriculture, supported a series of parliamentary committees which reported regularly from 1806. Evidence was invited and in 1810 Sri John received an impressive memorandum from McAdam which was edited and published as an appendix to a report of the following year…Extracts were included in McAdam’s first book, ‘Remarks on the present system of road making’, which was so influential that it had reached nine editions by 1827’ (DNB).
This first edition is exceedingly rare. There are no other copies on the market and the last copy to appear in auction was in 1998 in the Norman sale.