John Forbes was an M.P for Ratoath and a governor of the Bahamas. John Forbes was possibly born in Newstown, Co. Meath, the son of John and Sophia Forbes. Sophia was the daughter of John Curtis of Mount Hanover House, Duleek. His father, John, was the eldest of a family of twenty three children, the son of Rev. Arthur Forbes, rector of Drumconrath. His wealthy uncle, William, left him enough to be elected as a M.P. for Ratoath in 1776 , a position he was to hold until 1783. Forbes was captain of the Slane Volunteers in 1782. In 1782 Forbes wrote to Richard Wellesley at Dangan castle to urge him to support Henry Grattan. Forbes then served as M.P. for Drogheda until 1796. Forbes was Recorder of Drogheda from 1782 to 1796. In Parliament he worked closely with Henry Grattan and Henry Flood and was a friend of Edmund Burke. Forbes supported efforts to relieve the legal position of Catholics. In 1787 Forbes was made one of the commissioners for the making of a canal from Drogheda to Trim.
As a result of declining finances Forbes was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Bahamas in 1796. During the American War of Independence the Bahamas fell to Spanish forces in 1782. A British-American loyalist expedition later recaptured the islands. After the American Revolution, the British issued land grants to American Loyalists, and the sparse population of the Bahamas tripled within a few years. Among the newcomers was Lord Dunmore, formerly governor of New York and of Virginia, who served as governor of the Bahamas from 1787 to 1796.
The ship on which Forbes arrived on sank in a hurricane and his predecessor could not depart the island. His predecessor, Lord Dunmore, a nobleman of seventy who had been lax in the affairs of the colony. An outbreak of war with Spain also delayed the departure of the outgoing governor which placed Forbes in an awkward position. Forbes uncovered wholesale corruption. Forbes died of yellow fever a year later. He was buried in Christ Church, Nassau, in June 1797. His letters were preserved by his brother’s family and published, a number of his letters were donated to Drogheda corporation in the 1930s.