Births: Nicolo Amati, violin-maker, 1596; Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule, 1753; Robert Bloomfield, shoemaker and poet, 1766; Sir Rowland Hill, originator of the penny post, 1795; The Rev Robert Stephen Hawker, poet and antiquary, 1803; Frederic Leighton, first Baron Leighton, painter and sculptor, 1830; Octavia Hill, philanthropist, 1838; Joseph Conrad (Jsef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski), novelist, 1857; Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern, composer, 1883; Rajendra Prasad, first president of India, 1884; Nigel Marlin Balchin, novelist, 1908; Irving Fine, composer, 1914.

Deaths: St Francis Xavier, missionary, 1552; Alessandro Farnese, third Duke of Parma, military commander, 1592; Jacques Sarrazin, painter and sculptor, 1660; Claude Joseph Vernet, painter, 1789; Robert Montgomery, poet, 1855; Christian Daniel Rauch, sculptor, 1857; Hermann Gustav Gotz, composer, 1876; Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, novelist, 1894; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, 1910; Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painter, 1919; Christian August Sinding, composer, 1941; Dame Mary Jean Gilmore, poet, 1962; William Grant Still, black composer, 1978; Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, Fascist leader, 1980.

On this day: the French defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Hohenlinden, 1800; the British captured Mauritius from the French, 1810; the Battle of Cambrai ended, 1917; the Statute of Westminster was passed, under which British Dominions became sovereign states under the Crown, 1931; the Home Guard "stood down" with a parade of 7,000 in Hyde Park, London, 1944; Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant, South Africa, 1967.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cassian of Tangier, Saints Claudius, Hilaria and their Companions, St Francis Xavier and St Lucius of Britain.

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