In a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, who had asked Jefferson his opinion of the New England secession movement that was gaining momentum, he wrote: "Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern . . . and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family..." Jefferson offered the same opinion to John C. Breckinridge on August 12, 1803 when New Englanders were threatening secession after the Louisiana purchase.