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It dealt with whether the price of tobacco paid to established clergy for their services should be set by the colonial government or by the Crown.After the British Parliament overruled Virginia's Two Penny Act, which had limited the established clergy's salaries, the Reverend James Maury filed suit against the vestry of Louisa County for payment of back wages.

Henry began a career as a planter, but the soil was poor and their main house was destroyed by fire in 1757.

Henry first gained local attention in a case dubbed the "Parson's Cause" (1763).

In 1771 the family moved to Scotchtown Plantation, also in Hanover County. On October 25, 1777, 41-year-old Henry married his second wife, 22-year-old Dorothea Dandridge (1755–1831).

The next year they moved to Williamsburg after his election as governor and stayed through his two terms. In 1779 they moved to the 10,000-acre (40 km) Leatherwood Plantation, which he bought with his cousin and her husband in Henry County, Virginia.

He denounced passage of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions as he feared the social unrest and widespread executions that had followed the increasing radicalism of the French Revolution.

After he married, Henry began acquiring extensive land holdings.With his marriage, he became a slaveholder and landowner.Henry worked with his slaves on the land because it was a small property; it was exhausted from tobacco cultivation and he could not gain profitable yields.They sold Pine Slash Plantation in 1764, after Henry started working as a lawyer.The Henrys had six children together, one of whom married a brother of poet Thomas Campbell.Henry's speech was radical enough to gain notice at the time and has achieved mythic status since, even if his exact words are unknown.

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