Capt Halley adviseth of his being forced back from Weym° road

In his last letter to Josiah Burchett, Secretary to the Admiralty, dated November 1, Halley wrote about the need to have his sand ballast changed for shingle and his ship “searcht” for leaks. At that time he was becalmed off Weymouth and so requested that orders to repair the ship be sent to both Portsmouth and Plymouth, not knowing which of these dockyards he was likely to reach first.

The next morning, a “fresh Gale” blew the Paramore back into the Solent towards Portsmouth and Halley was able to send another letter to Burchett, dated November 4 from “Spitt head”:


Halley to Josiah Burchett dated 4 Nov 1698 (© National Archives ADM 1/1871)

Honoured Sr

When I wrote to you from Weymouth road, it was so dead calm that it was impossible for me to guess whether the next wind would be fair for Portsmouth or Plymouth, but soon after a strong Westerly wind sprung up, which brought us hither yesterday. I waited on the Commissioner and gave him the account I wrote you, of the ill condition of our ballast in relation to our pumps, and it was his opinion that my demand to have the ballast shifted and the leaks search’d, was so necessary that he needed not to stay for an order from above, however their Lopps letter will have the effect to get me the sooner dispatcht, which therfore I humbly hope will not be denied to

Your Honours most obedient Servt

Edm. Halley


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