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Births: Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, statesman, 1593; Jean-Pierre de Crousaz, philosopher, 1663; Frederick North, second Earl of Guilford, statesman, 1732; Thomas Jefferson, third US President, 1743; Richard Trevithick, engineer and railway pioneer, 1771; Felicien-Cesar David, composer, 1810; William Sterndale Bennett, pianist and composer, 1816; George Jacob Holyoake, rationalist, secularist and reformer, 1817; Josephine Elizabeth Butler (nee Grey), social reformer, 1828; Frank Winfield Woolworth, chain-store pioneer, 1852; Gyorgy Lukacs, philosopher, 1885; Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur Harris, wartime chief of Bomber Command, 1892; John Gerard Braine, novelist, 1922.

Deaths: Boris Feodorovich Godunov, Tsar of Russia, 1605; Jean de La Fontaine, writer of fables, 1695; Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin, artist and traveller, 1904; Richard Garnett, librarian, 1906; James Buchanan Brady ('Diamond Jim'), financier, 1917; Hugh Cecil Lowther, fifth Earl of Lonsdale, sportsman, 1944; Abdul Salam Arif, President of Iraq, killed in a helicopter crash 1966; Travers Christmas Humphreys, judge, 1983.

On this day: the Edict of Nantes, giving Huguenots equal rights with Catholics, was issued by Henry IV of France, 1598; the Royal Military Academy was established at Woolwich, 1741; The Messiah by George Frederick Handel, was first performed, Dublin, 1742; the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed in Britain, 1829; Magdala, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) was taken by the British under Sir Robert Napier, 1868; the Anti-Semitic League was founded in Prussia, 1882; the Royal Flying Corps was constituted by Royal Warrant, 1912; the Amritsar Massacre occurred after British soldiers fired on Nationalist rioters in India, 1919; the first London production of Funny Girl was presented, 1966; in Beirut, Lebanon, fighting broke out between Moslems and Christians, 1975.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agathonice, Carpus, and Papylus, St Guinoch, St Hermenegild, St Martin I, pope and St Martius or Mars. Today is also the beginning of the Sikh New Year.