Born: May 1, 1672, Milston (near Amesbury), Wiltshire, England.
Died: June 17, 1719, Holland House, Kensington, England.
Buried: Westminster Abbey, London, England.
Joseph was the son of Lancelot Addison (sometime Dean of Lichfield and author of Devotional Poems), and husband of Charlotte Myddleton Rich, the Dowager Countess of Warwick (married 1716).
He attended Charterhouse and Magdalen College, Oxford (BA 1691, MA 1693). Although intended for the Church, he studied law and politics, and soon attained, through powerful influence, some important posts.
He was successively a Commissioner of Appeals, Under Secretary of State, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Chief Secretary for Ireland.
Addison is best known for his contributions to the newspapers The Spectator (where his hymns appeared), The Tatler, The Guardian, and The Freeholder.