Admitted to Virginia bar, 1782. Member Virginia House of Delegates, 1783, 84, Virginia Council of State, 1784, Virginia Senate, 1788-1789. Adviser to Governor Henry of Virginia.
Judge Virginia General Court, 1789, Supreme Court Appeals, 1794-1821. Upheld right of General Court to declare void an unconstl. act of the legislature, 1793. Approved manumission of slaves according to the policy of the country.
Strict constructionist. Refused in Fairfax Case to execute federal court order, 1815. Founder (with Thomas Ritchie) Richmond Enquirer, contributed articles attacking Supreme Court of the United States Court under John Marshall, signed Amphictyon, Hampden, Algernon Sidney, 1819, 21.
Member Phi Beta Kappa.