Forbes, Rt Hon Duncan

Forbes, Rt. Hon. Duncan one of the most eminent lawyers of Scotland, was born at Bunchrew or Culloden in 1685. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and afterwards spent some time at the universities in Leyden, Utrecht, and Paris. In 1717 he became solicitor-general, and in 1742 lord-president of the court of session. In the Rebellion of 1745 he espoused the Hanoverian cause, and it is said that the ingratitude of the government so chagrined him that he fell a victim to fever produced by it. President Forbes cultivated the study of Hebrew and Biblical criticism. He was a follower of the English philosopher and theological writer John Hutchinson. In his work, Thoughts on Religion, natural and revealed (Edinb. 1735-43, 8vo), translated into French by father Houbigant), he lays down the doctrine that a system of natural science as well as religion could be drawn from the books of the O.T. if interpreted according to the radical import or root of the language. Forbes published also Reflections on the Sources of

Incredulity with regard to Religion (Edinb. 1750, 2 volumes, 12mo, or 1 volume 12mo): — Letters to a Bishop concerning some important Discoveries in Philosophy and Theology (Lond, 1735, 4to; also translated into French by father Houbigant). The entire works of Forbes, with a biographical sketch, were published by J. Bannatyne (Edinb. 1816, 8vo; 2 volumes, 12mo). Bishop Warburton calls him: the greatest man that ever Scotland produced, both as a judge, a patriot, and a Christian. Encyclop. Brit. 9:771; Allibone, Dict. of Authors, 1:611. (J.H.W.)

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