So named because it met at Brooke House.

From The Private Palaces of London Past and Present by E. Beresford Chancellor (1908):

the “Brooke House Committee,” … had been appointed, in 1668, to examine into the expenditure of certain moneys granted by Parliament to Charles II. for the ostensible purpose of prosecuting the war with Holland, but which seem, as was not then unusual, to have been employed by his Majesty in more peaceful projects. We find Pepys, on December 18th, wending his way thither, and carrying with him by order, the “Contract-books, from the beginning to the end of the late war.” “I found him” (Colonel Thomson), says the Diarist, “finding of errors in a ship’s book, where he showed me many, which must end in the ruin, I doubt, of the Comptroller.”

1893 text

“An Act for taking the Accompts of the several sums of money therein menconed,” 19 and 20 Car. II., c. I. The commissioners were empowered to call before them all Treasurers, Receivers, Paymasters, Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy and Ordnance respectively, Pursers, Mustermasters and Clerks of the Cheque, Accomptants, and all Officers and Keepers of his Majesties Stores and Provisions for Warr as well for Land as Sea, and all other persons whatsoever imployed in the management of the said Warr or requisite for the discovery of any frauds relating thereunto,” &c., &c. (“Statutes of the Realm,” vol. v., pp. 624,627).

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

9 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Committee of Accounts enabling legislation

'Charles II, 1667 & 1668: An Act for taking the Accompts of the severall So[m]ms of Money therein menc[i]oned', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 624-627. URL:… Date accessed: 05 January 2011

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Passage in House of Lords 19 December 1667…

Bill for taking Public Accompts.

The Duke of Richmond reported, "That the Committee have considered of the Bill for taking the Accompts of the several Sums of Money therein mentioned; and the Committee thinks it fit to pass as it is, without any Alteration."

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, "An Act for taking the Accompts of the several Sums of Money therein mentioned."

The Question being put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sunday 19 January 1668

"... comes W. Hewer and supped with me, and so to talk of things, and he tells me that Mr. Jessop is made Secretary to the Commissions of Parliament for Accounts, and I am glad, and it is pretty to see that all the Cavalier party were not able to find the Parliament nine Commissioners, or one Secretary, fit for the business."

L&M: William Jessop had been a distinguished public servant during the Civil War and Interregnum, serving as Secretary to the Admiralty Commissioners 1645-35; Clerk to the Council of State 1654-9 and 1660, and Assistant-Clerk to the Convention Parliament. He was described as a 'rigid' enemy to monarchy on the eve of the Restoration: CSPClar., iv. 675.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the 16th century Brooke House was known as Bath House. By 1623 it was owned by Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, from whom it got its 17th century name.

... the sitting of the "Brooke House Committee," which was appointed, in
1668, to examine into the expenditure of certain moneys granted by Parliament to Charles II for the ostensible purpose of prosecuting the war with Holland, but which seem, as was not then unusual, to have been employed by his Majesty in more peaceful projects.

We find Pepys, on December 18, 1667 wending his way to Brooke House, which
immediately adjoined Furnival's Inn to the west, about 120 feet from Gray's Inn Road, and carrying with him by order, the "Contract-books, from the beginning to the end of the late war."

"I found him" (Colonel Thomson), says the Diarist, "finding of errors in a ship's
book, where he showed me many, which must end in the ruin, I doubt, of the

This was not Pepys' earliest visit to Brooke House, for on the preceding 3 July he writes that he attended here for the first time on that day, and remained long with the Commissioners and found them "hot set on the matter," but he adds, "I did give them proper and safe answers."

Burnet tells us how deeply Charles II felt this "Brooke House business" which he "resolved to revenge."

With this the short history of Brooke House comes to an abrupt end. It is
probable that, like so many other fine houses, it gradually fell into decay and was after a time used for commercial purposes before being altogether demolished.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Thence walked to my bookseller’s, and there he did give me a list of the twenty who were nominated for the Commission in Parliament for the Accounts: and it is strange that of the twenty the Parliament could not think fit to choose their nine, but were fain to add three that were not in the list of the twenty, they being many of them factious people and ringleaders in the late troubles;
.... The men that I know of the nine I like very well; that is, Mr. Pierrepont, Lord Brereton, and Sir William Turner; and I do think the rest are so, too; but such as will not be able to do this business as it ought to be, to do any good with.…


William Brereton, 3rd Baron Brereton FRS (1631 – 1680) an English mathematician and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1659 and became Baron Brereton in the Irish peerage in 1664.

He was chairman of the Committee of Accounts, better known as the Brooke House Committee, in 1667–1670. In that capacity he clashed with Pepys, whose description of Brereton in his Brooke House Journal, is the best portrait we have of the man.

Brereton briefly became a figure of national importance as Chairman of the Committee, properly called the Committee of Accounts, set up by the House of Commons to inquire into the failures of the Navy during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

By his own admission he was chosen because of his lack of influence at Court, which was seen as a sign of independence.
He faced a formidable opponent in Pepys, who defended the Navy Office's record eloquently. Pepys' portrayal of Brereton is probably not entirely fair, a "fat old Cheshire magistrate" (in fact he lived in London and like Pepys was still in his late 30s).
Because Pepys was known for accuracy, his description of the frequent hot exchanges between them is probably accurate enough.
When Brereton angrily denounced Pepys for questioning the Committee's reading of the Statute empowering them to act, Pepys replied that any Englishman may form his own interpretation of a public statute.

When Brereton sarcastically asked if Pepys would defy the whole world, Pepys replied he would "defy the whole world and Lord Brereton in particular".

Brereton was hampered by Charles II and the Duke of York, who watched most of the hearings and expressed their support for Pepys. James on once rebuked Brereton for improper language, and when Brereton produced what he described as written proof that Pepys had taken a bribe, Charles asked drily if anyone could believe that Pepys would accept such a paltry sum.

When the committee dissolved, having produced no lasting results, Brereton effectively retired from public life.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys regarded Alderman Sir William Turner as ‘a sober, considering man’, and such qualities recommended Turner for inclusion in 1667 in the Brooke House committee which reviewed the public accounts for the recent second Anglo-Dutch war.

Archbishop Gilbert Burnet thought Alderman Turner's appointment to the Brooke House committee was subsequently vindicated by Alderman Turner’s ‘wise and just administration’ as lord mayor 1668-69. Several pamphlets praised Turner for presiding over the reconstruction of the City following the Great Fire.

However, Alderman Sir William Turner’s mayoralty 1668-69 was by not free from controversy, one opponent accusing him of having ‘espoused the interest of the Nonconformists’ when in office.
Leading Dissenters allegedly held ‘frequent consultations’ at Alderman Turner’s home near St. Paul's Churchyard in the summer of 1669 in order to co-ordinate an abortive campaign for Turner’s re-election as mayor, and reports of his lenience towards conventicles circulated in May 1670 and March 1675.


And we think the Alderman was the brother-in-law of Jane Pepys Turner, Pepys' cousin and good friend. Strangely Pepys never mentions their connection in the Diary.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In 1668, William Brereton made John Cook the accountant to the Brooke House Committee.

Following John Collins’ return to London in 1649, he earned his living teaching mathematics and handwriting, while also serving as accountant to the alum farmers of London.

In his spare time he produced some practical books, including An Introduction to Merchants’ Accounts (1652), The Sector on a Quadrant (1658), and The Mariners’ Plain Scale (1659).

At the Restoration, John Collins move into government employment as accountant to the Excise Office. So Pepys might have known him from the early 1660's.

Collins found intellectual pleasure in fulfilling a private goal he set himself in the early 1650s: the promotion of mathematical learning. Books constituted an important part of pursuing this goal. Alongside those he wrote, a number of which went through multiple editions, he used his contacts to the London book trade in order to see numerous contemporary mathematical works through the press, including Thomas Salusbury’s Mathematical Collections and Translations (1661–5), Isaac Barrow’s Lectiones geometricae (1670), and John Wallis’ Mechanica (1669–70).

Crucially, John Collins built up an extensive network of correspondents throughout the British Isles and Europe, through which he disseminated and exchanged mathematical news and procured the latest publications. Among the members of his circle were John Pell, James Gregory, Wallis, Isaac Newton, G. W. Leibniz, and R. F. de Sluse.

He came to play a pivotal role in the scientific life of Restoration England that contemporaries called John Collins ‘Mersennus Anglus’.

Collins also wrote many draft responses for Secretary Henry Oldenburg to mathematical correspondence received by the Royal Society.

Self-deprecatingly modest because of his lowly origins, John Collins was elected a Fellow in 1667, and for many years oversaw the Society’s financial accounts.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Ah, now here are more members of the Committee:…
Friday 3 July 1668

Then by coach to the Commissioners of Accounts at Brooke House, the first time I was ever there, and there Sir W. Turner in the chair; and present, Lord Halifax, Thoms[on], Gregory, Dunster, and Osborne.
Henry Savile, Viscount Halifax, A nephew of the Coventry brothers and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley who's mother was a sister to the Coventry brothers. He went on to have an illustrious career.
L&M companion: Col. George was one of four Thompson brothers. "Presbyterian merchants prominent in the service of the Commonwealth. Col. George (with his wooden leg -- he had been wounded in action in 1644), elected M.P. for Southwark in 1645, was a Councilor of State, 1651-53, 1659-1660, an Admiralty Commissioner, 1652, and an Admiralty and Navy Commissioner 1659, 1660. Under suspicion for disaffection in 1661, he made his peace with the Government and was put on the Brooke House Committee in 1668.
John Gregory was a colleague of Pepys in the Exchequer. He moved in 1660 to the office of Secretary Nicholas, and in 1668 was in the service of the Brooke House Committee.
Giles Dunster came from an Seavington St. Michael, south Somerset yeoman family, several of whom became merchants in London in the 17th century. He became a commissioner for public accounts after the second Anglo-Dutch war, later serving as surveyor-general of customs. Information taken from his brother, Henry's Parliamentary bio:
L&M: Henry Osborne. Member of the Brooke House Committee (1667-9) on war expenditure; brother of Dorothy Osborne, the letter-writer and wife of Sir William Temple. His uncle was Francis Osborne (d. 1659), author of *Advice to a Son*, one of Pepys' favorite books. In the third Dutch War he was a Commissioner of the Sick and Wounded. Knighted in 1673.

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