The first volume of the "Retirement Series" covers the period between 4 March 1817, when Madison left the presidency, and 31 January 1820, years when he and Dolley Payne Madison settled once again into the rhythms of rural life at their beloved home, Montpelier. Madison's retirement was a busy and productive one. The management of his large plantation occupied a great deal of his time. The correspondence in this volume reveals aspects of life at Montpelier, whether it be land sales and boundary surveys, sales of tobacco and wheat, court suits, medical bills, or purchases of household goods. Closely allied with his concerns for the productivity of his plantation were Madison's interest in scientific agriculture and his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, Peter Minor, Richard Peters, and others, relating to it. Featured in this volume is Madison's presidential address to the Agricultural Society of Albernarle, which was published in pamphlet form and widely disseminated in the newspapers. Madison remained engaged with current events through his correspondence with James Monroe, William H. Crawford, John Quincy Adams, James Barbour, James P.
Preston, and others who consulted him from time to time on foreign and domestic political matters and constitutional questions, such as the extension of slavery, the tariff, internal improvements, and banking. On these issues and others, Madison freely gave his opinion. During this period also, Madison wrote his "Detatched Memoranda", a collection of anecdotes of political figures, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, as well as explanations and defenses of decisions he had made in his political life. Finally, Madison's correspondence with Jefferson, Joseph C. Cabell, and others highlights his involvement in the creation of the University of Virginia. As in all volumes of this edition, thorough annotation and a detailed index provide access to people, places, and events.show more