FORBES, James. London 19.5.1749 — Aix-la-Chapelle 1.8.1819. British (Scottish) Civil Servant in India. In 1765 he came to Bombay as a writer, 1775 private secretary to colonel Keating. After a visit to England in 1780 collector and resident in Dabhoy. In 1781 visited Taj Mahal and made the first European drawing of it. In 1784 quitted India with a great number (150 vols.) of sketches and notes on fauna, flora, manners, religions, and archaeology of India. Resided in London and after 1788 partly in his wife’s home in Stanmore, Middlesex. Visited Switzerland and Germany and, after the turn of the century, France, where he was then held under custody and allowed to return in 1804. After Waterloo again in France, where his daughter was married. In 1788 married with Rose Gaylard, one daughter. The French historian Montalembert was his grandson.
Publications: Letters from France. 1-2. 1806.
– Oriental Memoirs. Selected and abridged from a series of familiar letters written during seventeen years residence in India, including observations on parts of Africa and South America, and a narrative of occurrences in four India voyages. 1-4. L. 1813-15, new ed. rev. by Countess de Montalembert. 1-2. L. 1834 (ed. by his daughter).
Sources: J.G.A[lger], D.N.B. 19, 1889, 397; Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia with portrait