Re: Forbes of India
- Miss Bets:
James Forbes (1749-1819) was a British travel writer renowned for his many
journeys to India, which resulted in his influential,heavily illustrated (by
himself) 4-volume 1813 "Oriental Memoirs"; held in captivity at Verdun by
the French, his remarkable facility for drawing was brought to the attention
of Napoleon, who viewed the several thousand sketches he carried with him
depicting his travels around the world and ordered him released; he aso
authored the 1810 "Reflections on the Character of the Hindus and the
Necessity of Converting Them to Christianity."
In 1775 Forbes went to India as private secretary to Col. Keating, and was
later appointed to a post in Baroche in Goojerat. In 1780 he became
collector and resident of Dubhoy, remaining in India until 1784 when the
district in which he lived was ceded to the Mahrattas. In 1810 Forbes was
put in charge of his fifteen-month old grandson, the future orator and
historian, Charles de Montalembert, and thenceforth his life was divided
between Charles and the Oriental Memoirs.
Forbes filled 152 folio volumes (some 152,000 pages), with notes for this
monumental work. Indeed, Forbes himself describes the "Oriental Memoirs" in
his preface as the "principal recreation of my life." Most of the original
drawings for the plates were made in the 1770s and '80s.
It's not the easiest work to find. Yale has a set, as does the Smithsonian,
UC Berkeley, Cambridge (U.K.), Univ of South Carolina and the Library of VA
For Revolutionary War Info on the Internet, your first choice should be: