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Births: Robert Burton, author and scholar, 1577; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Il Guercino), painter, 1591; Samuel Butler, poet, 1612; Pierre-Daniel Huet, bishop and scholar, 1630; Jean-Andre Deluc, meteorologist, 1727; Andre- Erneste-Modeste Gretry, composer, 1741; Johann Bernhard Logier, composer and writer, 1780; August Joseph Norbert Burgmuller, composer, 1810; Wilhelm Camphausen, painter, 1818; John Ruskin, writer, artist and art critic, 1819; William Tecumseh Sherman, general, 1820; Henry Walter Bates, naturalist and explorer, 1825; Jules Verne, novelist, 1828; Martin Buber, religious philosopher, 1878; Dame Edith Mary Evans, actress, 1888; King Wallis Vidor, film director, 1894; Tunku Abdul Rahman, first prime minister of Malaya, 1903; Chester Floyd Carlson, inventor of Xerox copying, 1906; James Dean (James Byron), actor, 1931.

Deaths: Mary, Queen of Scots, beheaded 1587; Giuseppe Torelli, composer, 1709; Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, 1725; Moritz von Schwind, painter, 1871; David Friedrich Strauss, philosopher, theologian and biographer, 1874; Robert Michael Ballantyne, author of books for boys, 1894; Prince Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin, anarchist and geographer, 1921; William Bateson, biologist and geneticist, 1926; Max Liebermann, painter and etcher, 1935; Prince Nicholas of Greece, 1938; John Langstraw Austin, philosopher, 1960; Sir Victor Gollancz, publisher and writer, 1967.

On this day: Catherine I became Empress of Russia in succession to Peter the Great, 1725; the Great Frost of London ended, 1740; the Morning Advertiser newspaper was first published, 1794; looting and riots broke out after a peaceable demonstration in Trafalgar Square by the unemployed, 1886; the film Birth of a Nation by DW Griffiths was first shown, 1915; 374 lives were lost after the French cruiser Admiral Charner was torpedoed off the Syrian coast, 1916; in the Soviet Union, Malenkov resigned and was succeeded by NA Bulganin, 1955; in Angola, 14 British mercenaries were executed by firing squad, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cuthman, St Elfleda, St Jerome Emiliani, St John of Matha, St Meingold, St Nicetius or Nizier of Besancon and St Stephen of Muret.