In 1826 he became a member of the Faculty of Advocates, and obtained the degree of LL.D. from King's College, University of Aberdeen. His works include a Critical Examination of Macculloch's Work on the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (1826), Aperçu sur les Hieroglyphes d'Egypte (Paris, 1827), a Vindication of the Scottish Bar from the Attacks of Mr. Broughton, and A History of the Highlands and of the Highland Clans (1834–1836). He was appointed editor of the Caledonian Mercury in 1827; and two years later he became sub-editor of the seventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, to which he contributed a large number of articles.
In the 1830s he lived at 11 Comely Bank in Edinburgh and was frequently visited by his friend Daniel O'Connell.
He died at Woodbine Cottage on York Road in the Trinity area on 8 April 1841.