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Births: Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sevigne, writer, 1626; James Otis, lawyer, 1725; John Lingard, historian, 1771; Sir Robert Peel, statesman, 1788; Ole Borneman Bull, violinist and composer, 1810; Thomas Creswick, painter, 1811; Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, inventor, 1840; John Boyd Dunlop, inventor of the pneumatic tyre, 1840; Franklin Taylor, pianist, teacher and translator, 1843; Luigi Mancinelli, conductor and composer, 1848; Sir Arthur Keith, anthropologist, 1866; John Henry Anderson, stage magician, 1874; 'Patsy' Elias H. Hendren, cricketer, 1889; Adlai Ewing Stevenson, statesman and ambassador, 1900.

Deaths: Giambattista Moroni, portrait painter, 1578; Pasquale di Paoli, Corsican patriot, 1807; Henry Crabb Robinson, diarist and lawyer, 1867; Thomas Carlyle, author and historian, 1881; William Morris Davis, founder of geomorphology, 1934; Henry Major Tomlinson, novelist and essayist, 1958; Marianne Craig Moore, poet, 1972; Emeric Pressburger, film producer, 1988; Joseph Leo Mankiewicz, film director and author, 1993.

On this day: Lord George Gordon was acquitted of treason, 1781; the Spanish captured Minorca from the British, 1782; the Prince of Wales ('Prinny') was declared Prince Regent, 1811; Charles XIV was proclaimed King of Sweden, 1818; Verdi's opera Otello was first performed, Milan 1887; in Russia, Church and State were officially separated, 1918; the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell, Lincolnshire, was founded, 1920; the Globe newspaper was last issued, 1921; the 'Corporative State' was established in Italy, 1934; US troops under General MacArthur entered Manila, 1945; the Sunday Telegraph was first published, 1961; the British airline Laker Airways collapsed with debts of pounds 270m, 1982; Klaus Barbie, a Nazi war criminal, was flown to France to face charges, 1983.

Today is the Feast Day of St Adelaide of Bellich, St Agatha, St Avitus of Vienne, St Bertulph or Bertoul of Renty, Saints Indractus and Dominica and St Vodalus or Voel.


Births: Christopher Marlowe, playwright, 1564; Antoine Arnauld, theologian, 1612; Queen Anne, 1665; Ugo Foscolo, novelist and poet, 1778; Sir Charles Wheatstone, inventor and physicist, 1802; Henry Charles Litolff, composer, pianist and publisher, 1818; Sir Henry Irving (John Henry Brodribb), actor, 1838; Frederic William Henry Myers, poet, 1843; Mrs Isabella Mary Beeton (Mayson), writer, 1865; Ramon Novarro (Samaniegos), film actor, 1899; Wladyslaw Gomulka, Communist leader, 1905; Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress, 1912; Francois Truffaut, film director, 1932.

Deaths: Thurstan, Archbishop of York, 1140; Aldus Manutius (Teobaldo Mannucci), printer, 1515; Jacques Amyot, scholar, 1593; King Charles II, 1685; Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, landscape gardener, 1783; Carlo Goldoni, playwright, 1793; Joseph Priestley, cleric and chemist, 1804; Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, scholar and folklorist, 1864; The Rev Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, author of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1897; Ruben Dario (Felix Ruben Garcia-Sarmiento), poet, 1916; Gustav Klimt, painter, 1918; Edward Emerson Barnard, astronomer, 1923; Ellen Cicely Wilkinson, politician, 1947; King George VI, 1952; Charles Langbridge Morgan, author, 1958; Turner Layton, singer and composer, 1978; James Hadley Chase, novelist, 1985; Marghanita Laski, author, 1988; Arthur Ashe, tennis player, 1993.

On this day: Maximilian I assumed the title of Holy Roman Emperor, 1508; James II acceded to the throne of Great Britain, 1685; Britain declared war on France, 1778; Massachusetts became the sixth of the United States, 1788; Great Britain and Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, 1840; General Robert E. Lee became commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies, 1865; the Boy Scouts of America were chartered, 1910; a fire destroyed most of central Constantinople, 1911; an Act of Parliament granted votes for women over 30, 1918; the German airline Deutsche Luft-Reederei was established, flying between Berlin and Weimar, 1919; Cardinal Achille Ratti was elected as Pope Pius XI, 1922; Sarawak was ceded to Great Britain, 1946; Queen Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne, 1952; seven members of the Manchester United football team were among 21 killed in an air crash at Munich, 1958; agreement was reached between Britain and France on a Channel Tunnel, 1964; the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former prime minister, should be hanged, 1979.

Tomorrow is the National Day of New Zealand and the Feast Day of St Amand, St Guarinus of Palestrina, St Hildegund, Saints Mel and Melchu, St Paul Miki and his Companions and St Vedast or Vaast.