Entering politics as a Democrat, he first attracted general attention by his violent campaign in Lowell in advocacy of the passage of a law establishing a ten-hour day for labourers; he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1853, and of the state senate in 1859, and was a delegate to the Democratic national conventions from 1848 to 1860.
When he is an emperor, a king, or a president of a republic, it is not expected that he will act personally; he may appoint a delegate or delegates to act on his behalf, and avail himself of their labours and views, the ultimate decision being his only in name.
In March 1775 he was appointed a delegate from Virginia to the second Continental Congress, where he served on committees for fortifying New York, collecting ammunition, raising money and formulating army rules.
He was ordained priest on the 31st of December 1837, and a few weeks later was made apostolic delegate of the small papal territory of Benevento, where he had to deal with brigands and smugglers, who enjoyed the protection of some of the noble families of the district.
He was a member of the New York Assembly in 1759-1769, a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 until his death and as such a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and in1777-1778was a member of the first state senate.
He was a delegate to the second Continental Congress in May 1775, and on the 19th of June was chosen one of the four major-generals in the Continental service.
He took an active part in the movements in Connecticut preceding the War of Independence, and from 1774 to 1776 was a delegate from Connecticut to the Continental Congress.
Circumscription, the pastor and one delegate of the council of presbyters Wheat.
He was a prominent member of the Republican party, and in 1861 was a delegate to the Peace Conference in Washington.
He left his incumbency of Savannah to a lay delegate and the commissary's court at Charleston suspended him for ceremonial irregularities.