Joseph Towers was born at Southwark, London on 31 March 1737 and died in London on 20 May 1799. The son of a second-hand bookseller, he started his working life as an errand boy and was subsequently apprenticed to Robert Goadby, a printer at Sherborne, Dorset. He later returned to London, working as a journeyman printer and bookseller and was apprenticed to the Stationers' Company in 1772. He worked on British Biography (1766–72) and on Kippis's revision – never completed – of the Biographia Britannica (1778–93). He was a correspondent of George Lyttleton. He was ordained a dissenting minister in 1774 and became minister of Southwood Lane, Highgate in that year. In 1778 he moved to Newington Green as co-pastor to Richard Price. He was made LL.D. by Edinburgh University in 1779. He was a politically active rational dissenter and took part in the campaign to repeal the Test and Corporation Acts in the late 1780s, was a member of the Revolution Society and the Society for Constitutional Information (SCI) and was called before the Privy Council to account for his activities with the SCI in June 1794. He was a trustee of Dr Williams' Trust from 1790 until his death.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.