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As a source for the text it is superseded by the printed edition, and if there is more than one, then by the latest printed edition, which has been revised in proof by the author, or, in certain cases,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.
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).
At nineteen he became a working compositor; afterwards he rose to be a corrector for the press, reading proofs of ecclesiastical works, and thereby acquiring a very competent knowledge of theology.
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.