Lives of the fellows

Samuel Collins

b.1617 d.11 April 1710
AB Cantab(1638-9) AM(1642) MD Padua(1651) MD Oxon(1652) FRCP(1668) MD Cantab(1673)

Samuel Collins, M.D., was of Trinity College, Cambridge, and as a member of that house proceeded A.B. 1638-9, A.M. 1642. He graduated doctor of medicine at Padua 25th August, 1651; was incorporated at Oxford, 8th April, 1652, and at Cambridge, 2nd July, 1673. He was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 11th September, 1656; and a Fellow, 25th June, 1668. He was Censor in 1671; again on the 3rd December, 1673, in place of Dr Wharton, deceased; and in 1678, 1680, 1681, 1690, 1691, 1693, 1694, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700, 1701; and, finally, on the 15th May, 1707, in place of Dr Charleton, deceased. He delivered the Gulstonian lectures in 1675, was anatomy reader in 1684, and on the 10th September, 1694, was appointed Lumleian lecturer in place of Sir Charles Scarburgh, deceased, an office which he retained to his death. He was constituted an Elect 4th October, 1689, to supply the vacancy caused by Sir George Ent’s resignation; was Consiliarius in 1692, 1693, 1696, 1697, 1700, 1701, and from 1705 to 1709; President, 1695; and he died on the 11th April, 1710, being then in the 93rd year of his age.

Dr Collins was an accomplished anatomist, and stood foremost among his contemporaries, whether at home or abroad, in his knowledge of comparative anatomy. His great, and, I believe, only work, embodying a full report of his own original investigations, and entitled, A system of Anatomy, treating of the Body of Man, Beasts, Birds, Fish, Insects, and Plants was published in London, in two folio volumes, in 1685. It is often referred to by Boerhaave and Haller, the latter of whom writes thus of the author and his work: “Anatomen comparatam amavit ut ipse de se fatetur, hinc magna pars operis in zootome versatur, cujus præcipuus certè auctor est; et avium pisciumque imprimis copiosissimas figuras dedit, ad Peraltianum fere morem. Ex homine icones pauciores sunt. Anatomem practicam interponit, et physiologiam, anatomen, atque pathologiam conjungit.” And again: “Vastum opus, parcius est in hominis anatome, in comparata uberius.” (1) Dr Collins’s portrait, [? ? by, painted and] engraved by W Faithorn, is prefixed to his Anatomy.

William Munk

[(1) Haller’s Biblioth. Anatom., vol. i, p.715.]

[Dr Collins was the son of John Collins vicar of Rotherfield Sussex – he was baptized at Rotherfield in 1618.]

[He married first Ann d. of John Bodenham ? of Wilts – and secondly Katherine dowager Countess of Carnwath ? d. of John Allington of Gloucestershire. Mr J C C Smith’s notes.]

[In 1706 he was living in St Martin’s Lane & so continued to his death.]

[To Dr Collins says a modern writer Encyclopaedia Britannica 8th Ed 1853 Art Anatomy Vol.II p.763 belongs the merit of conceiving and executing on an enlarged plan a comprehensive system of human and comparative anatomy embodying all the information then extant. With the aid of Tyson and his researches which were both extensive and accurate he composed a system of anatomical knowledge in which he not only delivers ample and accurate descriptions of the structure of the human body and the various morbid changes to which the organs are liable but illustrates the whole by accurate & interesting sketches of the lower animals. The matter in this work is so excellent that it can only be ascribed to ignorance that it has received so little attention. Though regarded as a compilation & though indeed much of the human anatomy is derived from ? it has the advantage of the works published on the continent at that time that it embodies most of the valuable facts from ? ? and ? The comparative anatomy is almost all original and acquired from personal research and dissection; and the pathological observation though occasionally tinged with the spirit of the times show the author to have been endowed with powers of observation and judicious reflection in no ordinary degree.”]

(Volume I, page 355)

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