In 1729 Murdoch was engaged as a tutor to John Forbes, son of Duncan Forbes, a sometime Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland. He accompanied the younger Forbes on his Grand Tour, staying at Orleans, Montauban and Rome. He was also tutor to a son of James Vernon of Great Thurlow, with whom he also travelled.
A Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) he in 1738 became Rector of Stradishall in Suffolk due to the influence of James Vernon. In 1745 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was also an author, a publisher and an able mathematician authoring among other works a biography of his close friend, the poet James Thomson (1700-1748, author of Rule Britannia). He also published An account of Sir Isaac Newton's philosophical discoveries by Colin MacLaurin (d. 1746).
After his death, he was described as "a polite scholar, an ingenious mathematician and philosopher".1
- 1. The source for most of the biographical information in this article is "The Suffolk Garland" (1818) a collection of poems, songs, etc. edited by the Rev. James Ford. The volume contains a small verse written by James Thomson to his friend Murdoch, to which is prefixed a short biography of the recipient.
Boswell met Murdoch at Dr John Pringle's in London on November 21, 1762.
Murdoch wrote a biography of James Thomson (1700-1748), which has been prefixed to some editions of "The Works of Mr. James Thomson" and "The Seasons, Hymns, Odes, and Songs, of James Thomson", both available via AbeBooks.