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The Independent Culture

Births: Thomas Hobbes, philosopher, 1588; Giovanni Girolamo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, lover and adventurer, 1724; Jean-Honore Fragonard, painter, 1732; Vincenzo Fioravanti, composer, 1799; Jules Dupre, landscape painter, 1811; Sydney Thompson Dobell, poet, 1824; Joseph Lister, first Baron Lister, surgeon and pioneer of antiseptics in surgery, 1827; Algernon Charles Swinburne, poet, 1837; Spencer Tracy, actor, 1900; Bette (Ruth Elizabeth) Davis, actress, 1908.

Deaths: William, second Viscount Brouncker, first president of the Royal Society, 1684; Edward Young, poet, 1765; Georges-Jacques Danton, revolutionary leader, guillotined 1794; Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday Schools, 1811; George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, fifth Earl of Carnarvon, Egyptologist, 1923; Jane Ellen Harrison, scholar and archaeologist, 1928; Vincent Millie Youmans, composer, 1946; Douglas MacArthur, general, 1964; Howard Robard Hughes, aviator, industrialist and film producer, 1976; Chiang Kai-shek, statesman and soldier, 1975; Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur Travers Harris Bt, former chief of Bomber Command, 1984.

On this day: the Addled Parliament (which made no enactments) began sitting, 1614; the French army of Italy was defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Magnano, 1799; Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus was first performed, Vienna 1874; Oscar Wilde was arrested for offences committed with Lord Alfred Douglas, 1895; an attempt was made to assassinate the Prince of Wales in Brussels, 1900; the Germans on the Western Front completed their withdrawal, 1917; the second Battle of the Somme ended, 1918; the Dail Eireann chose a Sinn Fein Executive, with Eamon de Valera as president, 1919; Sir Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister, 1955; the first driverless automatic trains ran on the London Underground, 1964; in the United States, outbreaks of violence by black people occurred in many cities, including Washington, New York, Chicago and Detroit, 1968; the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth was sold to an American syndicate for pounds 3.23m, 1968; in Guatemala, the West German ambassador was found murdered after having been kidnapped by left-wing rebels five days earlier, 1970; in Sicily, Mount Etna erupted, followed by violent flows of lava, 1971; Sir Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Albert of Montecorvino, St Derfel-Gadarn, St Ethelburga of Lyminge, St Gerald of Sauve-Majeure and St Vincent Ferrer.