The earliest biographical notice of Sterne, apart from a notice by ‘Sir’ John Hill in the newspapers of 1760, is by his friend Hall-Stevenson, prefixed to the spurious continuation of the Sentimental Journey (1769). Sterne's daughter, Madame Medalle, supplied in her collection of Sterne's letters (1775) a brief autobiographic fragment of great value. Both Tristram Shandy and the Sentimental Journey abound in autobiographic material. Thomas Gill's Vallis Eboracensis collects local information from Coxwold and the neighbourhood.
The only full life of Sterne is by Mr. Percy Fitzgerald, which was published in 1864 (2 vols.), and was reissued somewhat condensed, but with much new information—mainly derived from manuscript letters in the British Museum—in 1896 (2 vols.). Not all the old errors are corrected in the new edition. Laurence Sterne, sa personne et ses ouvrages, étude précédée d'un Fragment inédit de Sterne (Paris, 1870), is a valuable piece of expository criticism and biography by M. Paul Stapfer. Mr. H. D. Traill's Life of Sterne, in the Men of Letters series, supplies no new information, but some sensible criticism. The chief English critical notices are Thackeray's lecture in his Lectures on the Humourists, an essay by the Rev. Whitwell Elwin in the Quarterly Review, 1854, xciv. 303–53, and Mr. Leslie Stephen's essay in his Hours in a Library, 1892, iii. 139–74. Among French critics it is worth noting that Voltaire devoted the whole of section iii., entitled De la Conscience trompeuse, of his article on conscience in his Dictionnaire Philosophique (ed. 1765), to an appreciative account of Shandy and of Sterne's insight into the character of David (Œuvres Complètes, Paris, 1838, vii. 369). In the Journal de Politique et de la Littérature, 25 April 1777, Voltaire condemned Sterne's ‘bouffonnerie continuelle dans le goût de Scarron.’ Notices by Montégut, Essais sur la Littérature Anglaise, p. 281; Scherer, Etudes Critiques, 1876, pp. 195–221; and Texte, Cosmopolitisme Littéraire, pp. 337–354, are also suggestive.]
STERNE, RICHARD (1596?–1683), archbishop of York and alleged author of the ‘Whole Duty of Man,’ born about 1596, was son of Simon Sterne of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Simon, son of William Sterne, who is said to have migrated to Mansfield from Suffolk, where the name is common, married Margery, daughter of Gregory Walker of Mansfield. The future archbishop was educated at the free school at Mansfield, and on 8 July 1611 was matriculated from Trinity College, Cambridge. He was admitted a scholar on 6 May 1614, graduated B.A. in 1614–15, M.A. in 1618, and B.D. in 1625. He was elected fellow of Benet or Corpus Christi College in 1620, and was incorporated B.D. at Oxford on 10 July 1627 (Wood, Fasti, i. 433). He became chaplain to Archbishop Laud, probably in 1633, and on 17 Nov. in that year was selected by him to preach at St. Paul's Cross (Laud, Works, vii. 47). On 7 March 1633–4 he was elected master of Jesus College, Cambridge, and in the same month was collated by Laud to the rectory of Yelverton, Somerset. About the same time he received the rectory of Harleton, Cambridgeshire, and in 1635 he graduated D.D.
On the outbreak of the civil war, Sterne zealously adopted the royalist cause, and in August 1642 he arranged for the despatch of large quantities of college plate to the king. Cromwell, however, who, as one of the burgesses of Cambridge, was engaged in securing that town for parliament, had Sterne arrested on 11 Aug., with Dr. John Barwick (1612–1664) [q. v.] and Dr. William Beale (d. 1651) [q. v.] They were brought up to London, being subject to hostile demonstrations on the journey, and, on the order of the House of Commons, were committed to the Tower (Barwick, Querela Cantabrigiensis, 1644). Sterne remained there nineteen weeks until 12 Jan. 1642–3, when he was ordered to confine himself to Lord Petre's house in Aldersgate Street; after seven months' imprisonment he was placed on board an Ipswich coal-ship in the Thames. Being shut down beneath hatches he suffered great privation, and his enemies were credited with the intention of selling him into slavery. After ten days, however, he was put on shore and confined in Ely House. Meanwhile he was sequestered from his livings, and in March 1643–4 he was ejected by the Earl of Manchester from the mastership of Jesus College. On 7 Jan. 1644–5, at Laud's request, Sterne was permitted by parliament to attend the archbishop in the Tower, and he was with him from the 8th until his execution on the 10th. Some notes of Sterne's conversations with Laud during this time are printed in Laud's ‘Works’ (vii. 660–1), and the written address which Laud read to the people on the scaffold on 10 Jan. was handed by him to Sterne, under whose supervision it was printed in 1677 (Oxford, reprinted in Laud, Works, iv. 430 et sqq.). Soon afterwards Sterne regained his liberty, and during the Commonwealth and Protectorate he maintained himself by keeping a school at Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
At the Restoration he was at once singled out for preferment. He was reinstated in the mastership of Jesus College, but a few months later was made bishop of Carlisle. The congé d'élire was dated 9 Oct. 1660, the royal assent was given on 28 Nov., the temporalities were restored on 19 Dec., and he was enthroned on 4 Jan. 1660–1. From