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Births: St Francis Xavier, Jesuit missionary, 1506; Gerhard Douw, painter, 1613; Domenico Dragonetti, double-bass player and composer, 1763; William Wordsworth, poet, 1770; William Ellery Channing, Unitarian minister, 1780; Hermann Berens, flautist and composer, 1826; Edward Knoblock, playwright, 1874; Daisy (Margaret Mary Julia) Ashford, author, at the age of nine, of The Young Visiters, 1881; Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy Alcayaga), poet, 1889; Sir David Alexander Cecil Low, cartoonist and caricaturist, 1891; Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan), jazz singer, 1915.

Deaths: Jean-Baptiste, Abbe de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers, 1719; Richard (Dick) Turpin, highwayman, hanged 1739; El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), painter, 1614; William Godwin, radical writer, 1836; Phineas Taylor Barnum, showman, 1891; Joseph Aloysius Lyons, statesman, 1939; Henry Ford, motor manufacturer, 1947; Theda Bara (Theodosia Goodman), actress, 1955; James (Jim) Clark, motor-racing champion, killed 1968; Sheik Abeid Karume, dictator of Zanzibar, assassinated 1972.

On this day: in France, the metre was made the official measuring unit of length, 1795; during the American Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh ended after Federal reinforcements arrived, causing the Confederates to withdraw, 1862; the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway was completed, 1914; the first London production of the musical show The Desert Song was staged, 1927; President Niceto Alcala Zamora of Spain was deposed, 1936; Italy invaded Albania, 1939; the World Heath Organisation was formed as a specialised UN agency, 1948; Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1953; the Cominform was dissolved, 1956; Spain relinquished its protectorate over Morocco, 1956.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aphraates, St Celsus or Ceallach of Armagh, St George the Younger, St Hegesippus, St Henry Walpole, St Herman Joseph and St John Baptist de la Salle.