His tenure of office lasted two years, and was marked by the drafting of a temporary constitution which should give representative institutions to the Transvaal until such time as it should be safe to concede responsible government.
The son at an early age became consiliarius (legal assessor) to his father, and (probably in 507) quaestor, an official whose chief duty at that time consisted in acting as the mouthpiece of the ruler, and drafting his despatches.
There is no trace of professional advocates, but the plea had to be in writing and the notary doubtless assisted in the drafting of it.
He took an important part in drafting the civil code, the criminal code, the code of civil procedure and the commercial code.
His power of work was unbounded, and he had an absolute love of reading, annotating and drafting despatches.
In 1841 he abandoned the Whig party, with which he had previously been affiliated, and for seven years was the undisputed leader of the Liberty party in Ohio; he was remarkably skilful in drafting platforms and addresses, and it was he who prepared the national Liberty platform of 1843 and the Liberty address of 1845.
It is uncertain what further share he took in drafting Magna Carta.
After the battle of Austerlitz, he took part in the drafting of the treaty of Presburg.
His work in connexion with the drafting of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and with the Bering Sea controversy attracted attention.
Immediately after his return from Montreal he was a member of the committee of five appointed to draw up the Declaration of Independence, but he took no actual part himself in drafting that instrument, aside from suggesting the change or insertion of a few words in Jefferson's draft.