Admitted to New York bar, 1836. Attorney and counsel to city corporation Albany, 1836-1839, member municipal council, 1839. Judge advisory general New York Militia, 1841-1846, 51-53.
Member of New York Assembly (Whig), 1845-1850, 54, speaker. Adjutant general New York, 1855-1857. Commissioned United States minister resident to Japan, 1861-1865.
Instrumental in persuading Japanese to pay indemnity claims to European powers, 1862. Helped strengthen authority of central Japanese government, 1863. Largely responsible for keeping Japanese ports open to Western trade.
Concluded a convention reducing tariff on American manufactured goods, 1864. Largely responsible for joint action on Straits of Shimonoseki which broke power of one of leading opponents of foreign penetration. Presided over New York Commission to draft amendments to state constitution for submission to popular vote, 1872.
President Albany National Commercial Bank, 1880-1882. Trustee Metropolitan Trust Company, New York City.