Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/925

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
901
STERLING, J.—STERNE, LAURENCE

STERLING, JOHN (1806-1844), British author, was born at Kames Castle in Bute on the 20th of July 1806. He belonged to a family of Scottish origin which had settled in Ireland during the Cromwellian period. His father, Edward Sterling (1773- 1847), had been called to the Irish bar, but, having fought as a militia captain at Vinegar Hill, afterwards volunteered with his company into the line. On the breaking up of his regiment he went to Scotland and took to farming at Kames Castle. In 1804 he married Hester Coningham. In 1810 the family removed to Llanblethian, Glamorganshire, and during his residence there Edward Sterling, under the signature of " Vetus," contributed a number of letters to The Times, which were reprinted in 181 2, and a second series in 1814. In the latter year he removed to Paris, but on the escape of Napoleon from Elba in 181 5 took up his residence in London, obtaining a position on the staff of The Times newspaper; and during the late years of Thomas Barnes's administration he was practically editor. His fiery, emphatic and oracular mode of writing conferred those char- acteristics on The Times which were recognized in the sobriquet of the " Thunderer." John Sterling was his second son, the elder being Colonel Sir Anthony Coningham Sterling (1805-1871), who besides serving in the Crimea and as military secretary to Lord Clyde during the Indian Mutiny, was the author of The Highland Brigade in the Crimea and other books. After studying for one year at the university of Glasgow, John Sterling in 1824 entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he had for tutor Julius Charles Hare. At Cambridge he took a distinguished part in the debates of the union, and became a member of the " Apostles' " Club, forming friendships with Frederick Denison Maurice and Richard Trench. He removed to Trinity Hall with the intention of graduating in law, but left the university without taking a degree. During the next four years he resided chiefly in London, employing himself actively in literature and making a number of literary friends. With Maurice he purchased the Athenaeum in 1828 from J. Silk Buckingham, but the enterprise was not a pecuniary success. He also formed an intimacy with the Spanish revolutionist General Torrijos, in whose unfortunate expedition he took an active interest. But he did not accompany it, as he was kept in England by his marriage to Susannah, daughter of Lieut. -General Barton. Shortly after his marriage in 1830 symptoms of pulmonary disease induced him to take up his residence in the island of St Vincent, where he had inherited some property, and he remained there fifteen months before returning to England. After spending some time on the Continent in June 1834 he was ordained and became curate at Hurstmonceaux, where his old tutor Julius Hare was vicar. Acting on the advice of his physician he resigned his clerical duties in the following February, but, according to Carlyle, the primary cause was a divergence from the opinions of the Church. There remained to him the . " re- source of the pen," but, having to " live all the rest of his days as in continual flight for his very existence," his literary achievements were necessarily fragmentary. He published in 1833 Arthur Coningsby, a novel, which attracted little attention, and his Poems (1839), the Election, a Poem (1841), and Strafford, a tragedy (1843), were not more successful. He had, however, established a connexion in 1837 with Blackwood's Magazine, to which he contributed a variety of papers and several tales of extraordinary promise not fulfilled in his more considerable undertakings. Among these papers were "The Onyx Ring " and "The Palace of Morgana." He died at Ventnor on the 18th of September 1844, his wife having died in the preceding year.

His son, Major-General John B. Sterling (b. 1840), after entering the navy, went into the army, and had a distinguished career (wounded at Tel-el-Kebir in 1882), both as a soldier and as a writer on military subjects.

John Sterling's papers were entrusted to the joint care of Thomas Carlyle and Archdeacon Hare. Essays and Tales, by John Sterling, collected and edited, with a memoir of his life, by Julius Charles Hare, appeared in 1848 in two volumes. So dissatisfied was Carlyle with the memoir that he resolved to give his own " testimony " about his friend, and his vivid Life (1851) has perpetuated the memory of Sterling more than any of the latter's own writings.


STERLING, a city of Whiteside county, Illinois, U.S.A., on the north bank of Rock river, 109 m. by rail W. of Chicago. Pop. (1900), 6309, of whom 815 were foreign-born and 23 were negroes; (1910), 7467. Sterling is served by the Chicago & North- western and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railways, and by inter-urban electric railway to Dixon, 12 m. N.N.W. Across the river is Rock Falls (pop. in 1910, 2657), practically a suburb of Sterling, with foundries and machine-shops and manufactories of agricultural implements, barbed wire and bolts and rivets. Three bridges cross the river. The river is tapped here by the feeder of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, so that there is direct water communication with Chicago and St Louis. Two great dams on the river (one built by the Federal government) provide good water power. The public library (1878) had 12,000 volumes in 1910. In the city are large ironworks, and numerous other manufactures. Sterling was formed in 1839 by the consolidation of two towns, Harrisburg and Chatham, founded here in 1836 and 1837 respectively; it was chartered as a city in 1857.


STERLING, a term used to denote money of standard weight or quality, especially applied to the English gold sovereign, and hence with the general meaning of recognized worth or authority, genuine, of approved excellence. The word has been generally derived from the name of " Easterlings " given to the North German merchants who came to England in the reign of Edward I. and formed a hansa or gild in London, modelled on the earlier one of the merchants of Cologne. Their coins were of uniform weight and excellence (cf. Matthew Paris, ann. 1247, moneta esterlingorum, propter sui materiem desiderabilem, &c), and thus it is supposed gave the name of the moneyers to a coinage of recognized fineness. This theory is based on the statement of Walter de Pinchbeck, a monk of the time of Edward I., " sed moneta Angliae fertur dicta fuissc a nominibus opificum, ut Floreni a nominibus Florentiorum, ita Sterlingi a nominibus Esterlingorum nomina sua contraxerunt, qui hujusmodi monetam in Anglia primitus cornponebant " (quoted in W'edgwood, Diet, of Eng. Etym.). The word, however, occurs much earlier. The Roman de Rou (1180) has "Pour ses estellins recevoir, ' and " in Anglia unus Sterlingus per solvetur " occurs in an ordinance of Philip of France and Henry II. of England of 1184, both quoted in Du Cange (Gloss, s.v. Esterlingus). The " ster- ling " was a coin, the silver penny, 240 of which went to the " pound sterling " of silver of 5760 grains, 925 fine, and described in a statute of Edward I., quoted in Du Cange, as " Denarius Angliae qui vocatur Sterlingus." The word was borrowed by all European languages and applied to the English coin and to coins in general of a standard quality; thus we find not only O. Fr. estorlin or estellin but M. H. G. sterlinc or staerlinc, ltal. slerlino, &c. It would seem therefore that the term was applied to a coin of recognized quality before the North German merchants were established in London and that its origin should be found in a native English word. Two suggestions have been made; one that it represents an O. Eng. steorling, i.e. little star, from a device on an early coin, such as is found on some of William II., or O. Eng. staerling, starling, from the birds, which however may be doves, on the coins of Edward the Confessor. (See Du Cange, Gloss, s.v. Esterlingus; and Skeat, Etym. Diet. 1910, s.v. Sterling.)


STERNBERG, a town of Austria, in Moravia, 73 m. N.E. of Briinn by rail. Pop. (1900), 15,195, almost exclusively German. It is the chief seat of the Moravian cotton industry, and it also carries on the manufacture of linen, stockings, liqueurs, sugar and bricks. Fruit, especially cherries, and tobacco are grown in the neighbourhood. Sternberg is said to have grown up under the shelter of a castle founded by Yaroslav of Sternberg on the site of his victory over the Mongols in 1241.


STERNE, LAURENCE (1713–1768), English humorist, was the son of Roger Sterne, an English officer, and great-grandson of an archbishop of York. Nearly all our information about the first forty-six years of his life before he became famous as the author of Tristram Shandy is derived from a short memoir