Forbes, Sir Arthur (1656–1734), 2nd earl of Granard , soldier and Jacobite, was eldest son of Arthur Forbes (qv), later 1st earl of Granard, and his wife Catherine Stewart. He saw service in the French army prior to 1675. After protracted negotiation and a duel fought on his behalf, he married Mary Rawdon in 1678. She was the daughter of Sir George Rawdon (qv), 1st Baron Moira of Down, and an old associate of his father. They had three sons and two daughters. In 1684 he became Viscount Forbes, following his father's elevation as earl of Granard.
In an effort to curb his impetuosity, and what was seen as a troublesome wanderlust, his father suggested that Forbes might receive a commission under Richard Butler (qv), 1st earl of Arran, and he was commissioned as a major in March 1685, though the regiment itself was given over to Col. Richard Talbot (qv). In March 1686 he took over command of his father's regiment, the 18th Royal Irish Foot, and in July 1686 participated in the recapture of Buda from the Turks under Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne. He relinquished his command in December 1686 when he became a brigadier of foot and was ordered to England; while there, his men were noted for their exemplary training and behaviour. He opposed a purge of protestant officers from his units while in England, and had them reinstated. Forbes was subsequently reprimanded by James II (qv), but reaffirmed his loyalty, advocating in 1688 swift engagement with the forces of William of Orange (qv). He resigned his commission on James's departure from England in December, and in May 1689 was imprisoned for ‘dangerous and treasonable practices’ (CSPD 1689–90, 90), being released on bail in October. William was impressed by him, and offered him a place on his Irish expedition. However, Forbes declined both this and a pass to France, returning instead to Ireland to raise troops for James; he was apparently persuaded that a Stuart victory was possible. Forbes was imprisoned (June–August 1690) on suspicion of plotting rebellion. He was imprisoned again in 1692, and again briefly in 1696, following the exposure of the Jacobite assassination plot against William.
He remained an adherent of the Jacobite cause, regularly suspected throughout the 1690s and beyond of involvement in seditious activity. The suspicions were justified; though a protestant, Forbes remained a leading Irish Jacobite, trusted by the exiled Stuart leadership and privy to their various schemes for rebellions and invasions. However, in 1694 he may have been a member of the Irish privy council. On his father's death in 1696 he became 2nd earl of Granard, though his Jacobite inclination caused him financial difficulty. Like his father, Granard was well regarded and respected, and could rely on sympathetic figures to assist in alleviating his financial burdens; at one point Sir Alexander Cairnes (qv), one of the Irish revenue commissioners, offered to divide his own salary with him. He declined an offer to become governor of Jamaica, but in August 1702 Granard received a pension of £500 from Queen Anne, which was continued up to her death in 1714. Nevertheless, suspicions remained: he had never taken the oaths of allegiance or supremacy, ‘but amidst all this there seem the greatest professions of duty and respect to her majesty, and a more than ordinary inclination to serve his grace’ (CSPD 1703–4, 132). The latter was the viceroy James Butler (qv), 2nd duke of Ormond; given his own eventual Jacobitism the loyalty is perhaps unsurprising. None the less, the pension was confirmed (April 1703). Granard was made lord lieutenant of Longford on 31 May 1715, though he remained beset by financial difficulties for the rest of his life. Yet in 1718 his advice was being sought in relation to a possible Jacobite invasion, and as late as 1726 Granard was noted for his loyalty to the Stuart cause, continuing to toast the health of James III (the Stuart claimant) on a daily basis. He died 24 August 1734. His eldest surviving son, George (qv), who despite his own youthful Jacobitism enjoyed a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and as a diplomat, succeeded to the title. An extensive collection of family papers is retained in the PRONI.