Having worked first as a mason and then as a compositor, he joined P. Dubois in the foundation of Le Globe which became in 1831 the official organ of the Saint-Simonian community, of which he became a prominent member.
Others of interest are: Antee, revue mensuelle de litterature (1904); L'Art et la vie (1892); Cosmopolis (1896); L'Ermitage (1890); Le Mercure de France, serie moderne (1890), a magazine greatly valued in literary circles; La Revue de Paris, fortnightly (1894), and the Nouvelle Revue (1879) a compositor, and by translating from the English earned sufficient to purchase the moribund Revue des deux mondes, which acquired its subsequent position in spite of the tyrannical editorial behaviour of the proprietor.
He was an excellent compositor and pressman; his workmanship, clear impressions, black ink and comparative freedom from errata did much to get him the public printing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the printing of the paper money a and other public matters in Delaware.
As a source for the text it is superseded by the printed edition, and if there is more than one, then by the latest printed edition, which has been revised in proof by the author, or, in certain cases, by his representative; and the task of the textual critic is restricted to the detection of "misprints," in other words, of errors which the compositor (the modern analogue to the scribe) has made in "setting up" the manuscript, and which have escaped the notice of the proof-reader and the author or his representative.
These errors arise from the default of the scribe or copyist, and, in the case of printed books, the compositor.'
He soon became an expert compositor, and after a time began to write anonymously for the Herald.
When the copy is in type a proof is struck off and sent to the reading closet, where the corrector of the press (see Proof-Reading), with the aid of a reading-boy, will compare it with the original MS. or copy, and mark all errors on the proof, so that they may be amended by the compositor at his own cost before it is despatched to the author or customer, who in turn revises or corrects it for the general improvement of the work.
After some years of newspaper experience, first as compositor, then as reporter, during which he became an ardent revolutionist and joined the Fenian organization known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood, he enlisted in a British cavalry regiment with the purpose of winning over the troops to the revolutionary cause (1863).