John Le Sage, the only son of John Sage and his wife, Elizabeth Godfrey, was born at Clifton on 23rd April 1837. He was educated in Bristol and after leaving school he became a reporter on the Torquay Director. Later he was recruited by the Western Morning News.
In 1863 he moved to London in order to take up an appointment with the Daily Telegraph. His reputation as a reporter was enhanced by being the first British journalist to provide an account of the entry of the German Army into Paris in January 1871.
Edwin Arnold, the editor of the newspaper, sent him to report on the coronation at St Petersburg of Alexander III (1881). The following year he covered the expedition against Ahmed Orabi, and was received in audience by Pope Leo XIII and by Sultan Abdul Hamid. His biographer, J. B. Firth, has argued "He did not, however, achieve marked distinction as a writer at the Daily Telegraph. Le Sage's talents were better displayed in an executive capacity."
Le Sage enjoyed a good relationship with, Joseph Moses Levy, the owner of the Daily Telegraph, and his son, Edward Levy-Lawson, who took over in 1888. For almost forty years Le Sage was managing editor and was known as the "autocrat of Peterborough Court". He held conservative views and argued strongly against attempts to give the vote to working-class men and women's suffrage.
J. B. Firth has pointed out: "Le Sage's gifts were better suited to the last two decades of the nineteenth century than to the first two of the twentieth... For many years he had rooms in Clement's Inn, and, punctual to the minute, twice a day, he trod the Fleet Street pavement - an erect, imposing, and well-groomed figure." He gave full support to the government during the First World War and in 1918 he was rewarded when David Lloyd George arranged for him to have a knighthood.