FORBES, John (c.1673-1734), of Culloden, Inverness.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1713 - 1715
1715 - 1722
1722 - 1727

Family and Education

b. c.1673, 1st s. of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, M.P. [S], and bro. of Duncan Forbes. educ. Inverness R. Acad.; Netherlands 1692. m. 1699, Jean, da. of Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, Elgin, M.P. [S], s.p. suc. fa. 1704.

Offices Held

M.P. [S] Nairnshire 1704-7; dep. lt. Inverness-shire 1715-16; commr. of the equivalent 1716-17;1 provost, Inverness 1716, 1721.


John Forbes was descended from an Inverness burgess Presbyterian family who, though they had represented Inverness, Inverness-shire, and Nairnshire since 1625, were regarded as parvenus by the local aristocracy. Lord Lovat called them ‘the upstart offspring of a servant of Strehines and a burgher of Inverness, that no man in his senses can call a family, no more than a mushroom of one night’s growth can be called an old oak tree of five hundred years’ standing’.2 Returned in 1713 as a Whig for Nairnshire, which he had represented in the pre-Union Parliament of Scotland, he transferred to Inverness-shire in 1715, when he obtained a place of £500 a year. With his brother, Duncan, he took an active part on the government side in the Fifteen rebellion, deprecating the harsh treatment of the rebels, especially in the matter of forfeitures.3 Attached like his brother to the Duke of Argyll, he voted against the Government on the motion of 4 June 1717 against Argyll’s military rival, Lord Cadogan, attending the dinner given by Argyll to his followers four days later.4 Though turned out of his place, he voted with the Government in 1719, when Argyll returned to office. Defeated for the county in 1722, he was once more returned for Nairnshire, but never again secured a seat, though he stood for Inverness-shire in 1734, when he was a dying man. He died December 1734.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: J. M. Simpson


  • 1. See BOTELER, John.
  • 2. Sir W. Fraser, Chiefs of Grant, ii. 327-8.
  • 3. Culloden Pprs. 33.
  • 4. More Culloden Pprs. ii. 175.