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Births: Samuel Dircksz van Hoogstraten, painter, 1627; Gerard Audran, artist and engraver, 1640; Joseph John Gurney, philanthropist, 1788; Nicholas Patrick Stephen Wiseman, Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster, 1802; Edward Augustus Freeman, historian, 1823; Henry Steel Olcott, co- founder of the Theosophical Society, 1832; Francis Marion Crawford, novelist, 1854; Ethel Mary Dell (Mrs GT Savage), novelist, 1881; Leslie Lincoln Henson, actor-manager, 1891; Myrna Loy (Katerina Myrna Williams), actress, 1905.

Deaths: King William II (William Rufus), shot in the New Forest 1100; Thomas Gainsborough, painter, 1788; Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, balloonist, 1799; Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, 1849; 'Wild Bill' Hickok (James Butler), western marshal, shot dead, 1876; Enrico Caruso, operatic tenor, 1921; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, 1922; Warren Gamaliel Harding, 29th US President, 1923; Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, soldier and statesman, 1934; Louis Bleriot, aviator, 1936; Wallace Stevens, poet, 1955; Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge, author, 1963; Fritz Lang, film director, 1976; Carlos Chavez, composer, 1978.

On this day: the Quadruple Alliance between Britain, France, Austria and Holland against Spain was concluded in London, 1718; Napoleon was declared 'Consul for life', 1802; the government of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown, 1858; British Columbia became a Crown Colony, 1858; the transatlantic cable which was being laid by the Great Eastern snapped and was lost, 1865; death duties were first introduced, 1894; Russian troops invaded East Prussia, 1914; the Potsdam Conference ended, 1945; Iraqi tanks and infantry invaded and occupied Kuwait, 1990.

Today is the Feast Day of St Eusebius of Vercelli, St Plegmund, archbishop of Canterbury, St Sidwell or Sativola, St Stephen I, Pope, St Syagrius of Autun and St Theodota and her Three Sons.