I was researching a quotation by William Cobbett, an English author who spent a year living in America, from early May 1817 to late April 1818 . His goal was to farm here for a year and to keep a detailed, daily journal on the climate, the soil conditions, his agricultural experiences, and his travels. These were published in 1819 as A Year’s Residence, in the United States of America.

In skimming through his journal, I came across this nice tidbit about our own dear Lexington, Kentucky, and our state’s “favorite son,” Henry Clay:

“July 10th — Leave Frankfort, and come through a district of fine land, very well watered, to Lexington; stop at Mr. Keen’s tavern. Had the good fortune to meet Mr. Clay, who carried us to his house, about a mile in the country. It is a beautiful residence, situated near the centre of a very fine farm, which is just cleared and is coming into excellent cultivation. I approve of Mr. Clay’s method very much, especially in laying down pasture. He clears away all the brush or underwood, leaving timber enough to afford a sufficiency of shade to the grass, which does not thrive here exposed to the sun, as in England and other such climates. By this means he has as fine grass and clover as can possibly grow. I could not but admire to see this gentleman, possessing so much knowledge and of so much weight in his country’s affairs, so attentively promoting her not less important though more silent interests by improving her agriculture. What pleased me still more, however, because I less expected it, was, to hear Mrs. Clay, in priding herself on the state of society, and the rising prosperity of the country, citing as a proof the decency and affluence of the trades-people and mechanics at Lexington, many of whom ride about in their own carriages.”