He was born at Auzon (Haute-Loire), the son of a poor weaver, and went to French America to seek his fortune. At Saint Domingue on the island of Haiti, he began the manufacture of tafia (an inferior quality of rum), but lost everything in a fire.
After the attempt on the First Consul in the Rue Sainte-Nicaise he was deported to French Guiana, but was allowed to return to the French Empire in 1809. In 1811, while under surveillance at Auxerre, he was accused of having provoked a riot against indirect taxes known as the droits réunis (afterwards called contributions indirectes), and was imprisoned in the Château d'If, where he remained until 1814.
On the second Bourbon Restoration, Fournier was confined for about nine months in La Force Prison. After 1816 he turned Royalist, and passed his last years in importuning the Restoration government for compensation for his lost property in Saint Domingue. He died in obscurity.