Flamsteed himself sent the Royal Society the star records under strong pressure from Newton and Halley, on condition that they publish only his accompanying observations, not the catalogue itself. Newton presumably felt justified in betraying Flamsteed’s trust, if the catalogue could help save lives at sea. After the event, the injured Flamsteed wrote to Abraham Sharp:
I have had another contest with the President ( Sir Isaac Newton) of the Royal Society, who had formed a plot to make my instruments theirs…
I complained then of my catalogue being printed by Raymer, without my knowledge, and that I was robbed of the fruit of my labours. At this he fired, and called me all the ill names, puppy, etc., that he could think of. All I returned was, I put him in mind of his passion, desired him to govern it, and keep his temper: this made him rage worse, and he told me how much I had received from the Government in thirty-six years I had served. I asked what he had done for the 500 per annum that he had received ever since he had settled in London.
This made him calmer; but finding him going to burst out again, I only told him my catalogue, half finished, was delivered into his hands, on his own request, sealed up. He could not deny it, but said Dr Arbuthnot had procured the Queen's order for opening it. This, I am persuaded, was false; or it was got after it had been opened.