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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Bombay 2019: Photo 33

world pictures Peninsular India: Bombay 2019




Here he is, Charles Forbes (1773-1849), a businessman turned parliamentarian turned philanthropist. His fortune was based on the family firm of Forbes and Company, Bombay, begun by his uncle and carried on by the nephew with interests expanding from trading into ship building and banking. Forbes returned home in 1811 after 25 years in India but retained his managerial position in the firm while also serving as a very Tory member of parliament. He made himself popular there with comments such as: "The more I see of my own countrymen, the more I like the natives of India." (See the lengthy article about him in historyofparliamentonline.org)

Among his philanthropies were donations to help Bombay improve its water supply--and to build this town hall. As for whether Forbes should be regarded as a bounder or a benefactor, consider this: he translated the gospels into Hindi but opposed missionary activity ("He left the Hindoos to do with them what they pleased").

The statue is by the eminent Francis Chantrey. See also James Grant's obscure

Portraits of Public Characters, vol. 2, 1841.

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