Memoirs, Obituraries & Profiles
~ Contemporary memoirs
Accounts of Dr. Collyer written during his lifetime, including descriptions of his oratory and physical appearance
Obituaries of Dr. Collyer, his wife Mary Collyer and his parents
~ Later profiles
Profiles of Dr. Collyer from later histories
European Magazine and London Review, pub. by the Philological Society of London, Nov. 1817, vol. 72, pp. 407-411, carried a memoir and portrait (p. 383)
The Examiner, issue 605, 1 Aug. 1819, published an article on Dr. Collyer's pulpit oratory which included a physical description of him and an assessment of his character.
Nathaniel Sheldon Wheaton, rector of Christ Church, Hartford, Connecticut, heard Dr. Collyer preach at Salter’s Hall Chapel on Sunday, 29 February 1824: "He is said to be one of the most popular of all the dissenting ministers in the metropolis ; but an unlucky attempt to dabble in surgery, in a case of a delicate nature, has exposed him to the lampoons and sly jokes of certain waggish editors. The doctor has a smooth, easy, flowing elocution, with a voice sufficiently musical; but his great fault is that he uses too many words..." (A Journal of a Residence during Several Months in London: including Excursions through various parts of England ; and a Short Tour in France and Scotland ; in the years 1823 and 1824, by Nathaniel Sheldon Wheaton, pub. by H & F. J. Huntington, 1830, p. 179).
Lives and Portraits of Public Characters who have distinguished themselves, pub. by John Cumberland, 1828, vol. 1. This gives an account of the bath house scandal which had taken place about five years earlier.
'Notes of a Traveller', from The Christian Advocate, Jan. 1830, ed. by Ashbel Green, pub. by A. Finley, Philadelphia, vol. 8, p. 17 gives this account, written in either 1828 or 1829: "Sunday, June 15 ... in the evening they accompanied me to the chapel of Dr. Collyer, where I heard him deliver a kind of farewell sermon to his people, on account of a contemplated absence occasioned by ill health. He did not come up, by any means, to my expectations of him as a preacher. Though the occasion seemed to admit of it, there was nothing striking or interesting, either in his matter or manner."
Writing in his Journal on 1 January 1829, the Rev. Andrew Lynn recorded hearing Dr. Collyer preach: "There was a good attendance, considering that it was a week-day morning. We found a hymn in the pew, suited to the subject; and were told that it is the Dr.'s custom to compose and print, for every morning service, a hymn, which is sung by the congregation. He prayed in a very soft, elegant style, calculated to produce a refined feeling among the people ; I designated him 'A lady's preacher'." (Methodist Records: or, Selections from the Journal of the Rev. Andrew Lynn, designed to promote spiritual Christianity, ed. by John Stokoe, pub. by J. B. Cooke, 1858, book III, chap. 1, pp. 371-372).
John Codman, 'one of the Deputation from the General Association of Massachusetts to the Congregational Union of England and Wales' 1834-1835, recorded his re-union with Dr. Collyer (in his A Narrative of a Visit to England, published by Perkins & Marvin, 1836, pp. 214-216): "…The feeble state of Dr. Collyer's health had prevented his mingling with the bustling duties of the anniversary week, and I had not seen him during my stay in London. I was unwilling to leave the country without seeing and hearing this distinguished and excellent man, with whom it was my happiness in early life to enjoy a personal acquaintance … As he ascended the pulpit, I could scarcely recognize the active individual I had known some thirty years ago. What a change had time and affliction effected ! But though the elasticity of his movement, and the light and graceful appearance of his figure, had given place to the slow and measured step of premature age and the increased corpulency of his person, I was soon convinced that he had lost none of the originality and force of his genius, nor of the unction and fervor of his piety ..."
A review of Dr. Collyer’s preaching style, and a description of his celebrity, appeared in The British Pulpit: consisting of Discourses by the Most Eminent Living Divines, in England, Scotland, and Ireland: accompanied with Pulpit Sketches to which are added Scriptural Illustrations; and Selections on the Office, Duties, and Responsibilities of the Christian Ministry, by Rev. W. Suddards, published by Grigg & Elliot of Philadephia, third edition, 1837, vol. 1, pp. 400-401. More critically, The Metropolitan Pulpit; or Sketches of the Most Popular Preachers in London, by James Grant, published by D. Appleton, 1839, chap. 9, pp. 298-307 includes a description of Dr. Collyer's appearance, his preaching style and his deteriorating health in later life.
A brief obituary of Dr. Collyer's mother, Mrs. Anne Collyer, appeared in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle, 1825, n. s., vol. 3, p. 103.
Three years later, a further brief obituary of Dr. Collyer's wife appeared, again in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle, Feb. 1828, n. s., vol. 6, p. 72: "She had long been afflicted with pulmonary symptoms, and for some months past had been the subject of severe suffering, which she bore with the most exemplary Christian fortitude and patience".
Two years later, an obituary of Dr. Collyer's father, Thomas Collyer, also appeared in The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle, pub. by Frederick Westley & A. H. Davis, London, Oct. 1830, n. s., vol. 8, pp. 445-447. This account gives some details of Dr. Collyer's upbringing.
Obituaries of Dr. Collyer appeared in The Evangelical Magazine, May 1854, vol. 32, pp. 249-257 and in The Gentleman's Magazine, June 1854, n. s., pt. 1, vol. 41, pp. 655-658. The Christian Witness and Church Members' Magazine, ed. by J. Campbell, pub. by John Snow, London, 1854, vol. 11, pp. 169-171, published a tribute which included extensive extracts from Dr. Morison's funeral sermon.
Edwin F. Hatfield in The Poets of the Church includes a profile of Dr Collyer.