Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on a Conversation with Abraham Baldwin, 6 February 1798

Notes on a Conversation with Abraham Baldwin

Feb. 6. mr Baldwin tells me that in a conversn yesterday with Goodhue, on the state of our affairs, Goodhue said ‘I’ll tell you what, I have made up my mind on this subject; I would rather the old ship should go down than not.’ (meaning the union of the states.) mr Hillhouse coming up, ‘well says mr Baldwin I’ll tell my old friend Hillhouse what you say,’ & he told him ‘well says Goodhue I repeat that I would rather the old ship should go down, if we are to be always kept pumping so.’ ‘mr Hillhouse, says Baldwin, you remember when we were learning logic together at school, there was the case categorical & the case hypothetical. mr Goodhue stated it to me first as the case categorical.’ I am glad to see that he now changes it to the case hypothetical, by adding ‘if we are always to be kept pumping so.’ Baldwin went on then to remind Goodhue what an advocate he had been for our tonnage duty wanting to make it 1 Doll. instead of 50. cents, and1 how impatiently he bore the delays of Congress in proceeding to retaliate on Gr. Br. before mr Madison’s proposns came on; Goodhue acknoleged that his opinions had changed since that.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 102:17525); entirely in TJ’s hand; on same sheet as preceding document; with opening quotation mark to “well says mr Baldwin” and closing quotation mark following “as the case categorical” supplied by Editors.

Learning logic together: Baldwin and James Hillhouse graduated from Yale in 1772 and 1773, respectively (Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, 6 vols. [New York, 1883–1912], 3:432–4, 486–90).

1Preceding passage beginning with “wanting” interlined by TJ.

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