He received his education at the Glasgow high school and at Edinburgh University. He was a member of the Scottish Bar, and became Sheriff of Lanarkshire. He became intimate with Delta Moir, James Hogg, John Wilson (Christopher North), and others of the brilliant staff of Blackwood's Magazine, to which he was drawn by his political sympathies. In 1828 he became editor of the Edinburgh Literary Journal, which was eventually incorporated in the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle. He wrote a Life of Mary Queen of Scots (1830), strongly in her defence, and two vols. of poetry, Summer and Winter Hours (1831), and My Old Portfolio, the latter also containing pieces in prose.