On his return he settled in Edinburgh; and, having attracted attention by his head of Forbes of Culloden and his full-length of the duke of Argyll, he removed to London, where he was patronized by the duke of Bridgewater.
The great hall, with its fine open-timbered oak roof, is adorned with a splendid stained-glass window and several statues of notable men, including one (by Louis Francois Roubiliac) of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, lord president of the court of session (1685-1747), and now forms the ante-room for lawyers and their clients.
Matters were not bettered by the Act of Union signed in a cellar in High Street in 1707, amidst the execrations of the people, and it was not till the hopes of the Jacobites were blasted at Culloden (1746) that the townsfolk began to accept the inevitable.
It was captured by the Jacobites in 1745, but reoccupied after the battle of Culloden, when it received its present name in honour of William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, the victorious general.
He entered the army in 1741 and saw service in Flanders and in the campaign of Culloden, becoming lieutenant-colonel in the 44th foot in March 1751.
Cumberland Square, in which there is a Doric column surmounted by a statue of the duke of Cumberland, to commemorate the battle of Culloden, is the point from which the several principal streets diverge in regular form.
On the 8th of April the duke marched thence to meet Charles, whose little army, exhausted with a futile night march, half-starving, and broken by desertion, was completely worsted at Culloden on the 16th of April 1746.
They fought with courage, but were no match for Roman discipline; it was, however, impossible to follow them into their mountain fortresses, nor were the difficulties of pursuit thoroughly overcome till after the battle of Culloden in 1746.
Many of his noble supporters escaped, he did his best to provide them with ships, others were executed, while the great Whig, Forbes of Culloden, protested against the bad policy of the repressive measures.
Yet Duncan Forbes of Culloden, president of the Court of Session, after the outbreak of the war with Spain, reported amazing scarcity of money in the country, and strenuously advised legislative checks on the taste for tea, which naturally diminished the profits of the excise on more generous beverages.
In 1738 the waning power of Walpole and the approaching war with Spain caused Forbes of Culloden to propose the raising of four or five highland regiments for foreign service.
His expostulations perhaps prove him to have been " the best general in his army," but he was dragged northwards to Inverness, and with depleted ranks of starving men, outworn by the fatigue of a long night's march to surprise Cumberland at Nairn, he stood on Culloden Moor in defence of Inverness, his base and only source of supplies (16th of April 11746).
The abolition of hereditable jurisdictions and of the claims of feudal superiors to military service, after Culloden, broke the bond between chiefs and clans, and introduced new social and economical conditions, bequeathing the Land Question to the 10th century.
After Culloden, however, it was seen that all serious danger of a Stuart restoration was passed; and in 1778 Catholics who abjured the Pretender and denied the civil authority of the pope were relieved from their most pressing disabilities.
John's son Donald, sometimes called "gentle Lochiel," joined Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, in 1745, was wounded at Culloden, and escaped to France, dying in the same year as his father.