He was born in Edinburgh on 30 January 1766. He was the son of Jean Drummond, daughter of George Drummond, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and Rev John Jardine (1715–1766), minister of the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile. He attended the High School in Edinburgh and then studied law at the University of Edinburgh. Following graduation he was apprenticed to John Davidson WS based on Castlehill on the Royal Mile.
He became a Writer to the Signet in 1790 and in 1793 took the important government role of Solicitor of Taxes, through the patronage of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville. From 1820 until 1831 he was King's remembrancer in the exchequer throughout the reign of King George IV.
In 1814 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were George Steuart Mackenzie (his son-in-law), Henry Mackenzie, and Thomas Charles Hope. In 1818 he was of those present with Sir Walter Scott at the rediscovery of the Honours of Scotland. In November 1819 he was present at the opening of the grave of Robert Bruce, inspection of the remains, and the re-interment in a new leaden coffin which was then completely filled with hot pitch to exclude air and preserve the bones.
He was knighted in 1825.
He retired in 1837 with a pension of £1,400 per annum, a considerable sum for the time.
Jardine Affiliated to Lodge Holyrood House (St Luke's), No.44, on 21 February 1783. He had previously been Initiated into Scottish Freemasonry in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No.2.
He married Catherine Skene (died 1838) in 1794. She was the sister of Andrew Skene and James Skene of Rubislaw. They had six daughters and four sons. His daughter Catherine Jardine (died 1857) married twice: firstly to Captain John Street of the Royal Artillery; secondly to Sir George Steuart Mackenzie. His youngest daughter Henrietta Jardine (1805-1862) married Dr William Cullen (1798-1828), grandson of the William Cullen.
- Report Relative to the Tomb of King Robert the Bruce and the Cathedral Church of Dunfermline
- "Henry Jardine (1766 - 1851) - Genealogy". geni.com. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1785–95
- "Jardine". electricscotland.com. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
- "Jardine Clan History: Jardine family information - Scotweb Information Centre". scotweb.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "King Robert Bruce". News. The Times (10775). London. 12 November 1819. p. 3.
- Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
- Edinburgh and Leith Post Office directory 1850–51
- A History of the Mason Lodge of Holyrood House (St.Luke's), No.44, holding of the Grand Lodge of Scotland with Roll of Members, 1734-1934, by Robert Strathern Lindsay, W.S., Edinburgh, 1935. Vol.II, p.673.
- Cullen/Jardine grave St Johns Episcopal Church, Edinburgh