He studied law in Toronto, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and became a Queen"s Counsel in 1867.
He was elected to the first council for Bytown in 1847 and became mayor in 1848. After Bytown was renamed to Ottawa in 1854, he became its first mayor. He was police commissioner for the city in 1863.
In 1872, he was elected to the House of Commons in the two-member riding of Ottawa City, but resigned in 1873 due to the Pacific Scandal.
He died in Ottawa in 1874. He was the city solicitor and was also campaigning for reelection to the House of Commons at the time of his death.