Forbes, George (1760–1837), 6th earl of Granard , soldier, and politician, was born 14 June 1760 at Newtownforbes, Co. Longford, the only child of George Forbes (1740–80), 5th earl of Granard, and his first wife Dorothy, second daughter of Sir Nicholas Bayley, bart. He was educated at Armagh before entering the army, and succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father (16 April 1780). He then made a lengthy tour of the Continent, as was the fashion, residing in France and Austria before returning to Ireland and immersing himself in politics. A whig, he was a strong supporter of the prince of Wales, and uncompromising in his opposition to the government over the regency crisis (1788–9). He owned large estates in Co. Longford, and was custos rotulorum of the county (1784–1813). In 1793 he raised the Longford militia, which he also commanded. Simultaneously rising in the army ranks, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel in 1794, colonel in 1801, major-general later the same year, lieutenant-general in 1813, and general in 1830.
He led his Longford militia during the 1798 rebellion, positioned on the third line of the crown forces during the ‘races of Castlebar’. His troops were among those that panicked and fled, although he was praised for his efforts to rally them. He subsequently fought at the battle of Ballinamuck, Co. Longford (8 September). In the Irish house of commons he owned the boroughs of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, and St Johnstown, Co. Longford. Despite risking his own chances of advancement he was steadfast in his opposition to the union (1799–1800), and was one of the twenty-one peers who signed a protest against the measure. As a result, he was not given a seat in the new united house of lords and retired to his estates.
In 1806 he made a brief return to politics, during the short-lived whig administration of ‘all the talents’. He was created a baron in the English peerage, with the title Baron Granard of Castle Donington, in the county of Leicester, and sworn an Irish PC. He was also given the lucrative sinecure of clerk of the crown and hanaper (1806–7). After the collapse of the ministry he returned to opposition till 1815, when he was reappointed clerk of the hanaper (1815–36). In 1824 Castle Forbes was destroyed by fire, and he narrowly escaped with his life. After 1819, when his son succeeded him as governor of Co. Longford, he retired from active involvement in politics and spent most of his time in France.
He died at the Hôtel Marboeuf in the Champs-Elysées, Paris, on 9 June 1837 and was buried at Newtownforbes, Co. Longford. He married (10 May 1779) Lady Selina Frances, fourth daughter of Sir John Rawdon (qv), 1st earl of Moira, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth (qv), née Hastings. They had five sons and four daughters. His eldest son, George John (1785–1836), Viscount Forbes, was a major-general and MP for Co. Longford. The third son, Hastings Brudenell Forbes, died at Waterloo (1815). George John's son George Arthur Forbes (1833–89) succeeded his father as Viscount Forbes in 1836, and his grandfather as 7th earl of Granard in 1837.