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The Independent Culture
Births: Robert Barclay, Quaker writer, 1648; Frans van Mieris the Younger, painter, 1689; Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, 1732; Alexander I, Tsar of Russia, 1777; Jean-Francois Champollion, Egyptologist and decipherer of the Rosetta Stone, 1790; Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, writer and critic, 1804; Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), 1805; "Lord" George Sanger, circus proprietor, 1827; Joseph Arthur, first Baron Rank, miller and film magnate, 1888.

Deaths: Henri I de de Lorraine, third Duc de Guise, assassinated 1588; William Davison, Scottish Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, 1608; George Catlin, artist and writer, 1872; Laurence Oliphant, journalist and traveller, 1888; Jean-Baptiste Edouard Detaille, painter, 1912; Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, aircraft designer, 1939; Charles Dana Gibson, artist and illustrator, 1944; Hideki Tojo, former Japanese prime minister, hanged 1948; Eric Coates, composer, 1957; Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, first Earl of Halifax, Viceroy of India, 1959.

On this day: HMS Bounty, commanded by William Bligh, sailed from Spithead for the South Seas, 1787; the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (its true title was "A Visit from St Nicholas"), by Clement Clarke Moore, was printed in the Troy Sentinel, New York, 1823; Joseph Hansom patented a type of cab, 1834; the Aldwych Theatre, London, opened, 1905; a bomb was thrown at Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India, as he entered the new capital at Delhi, 1912; the Federal Reserve Bank was founded in the United States, 1913; in Germany, Marinus Van der Lubbe, a Dutchman, was found guilty of setting fire to the Reichstag and was sentenced to death, 1933; Managua, capital of Nicaragua, was destroyed by an earthquake, with a loss of 12,000 lives, 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Dagobert II of Austrasia, St Frithebert, St John of Kanti, St Servulus, the Ten Martyrs of Crete, St Thorlac and Saints Victoria and Anatolia.