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Births: Francois de Lorraine, Duc de Guise, statesman, 1519; Arcangelo Corelli, composer, 1653; Horace Benedict de Saussure, geologist, 1740; John Pinkerton, historian, 1758; Rene Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope, 1781; Henri Vieuxtemps, violinist and composer, 1820; Wilhelm Fritze, pianist and composer, 1842; Selwyn Image, artist, 1849; Frederick Eugene Ives, half-tone process inventor, 1856; Sir Edward German (Edward German Jones), composer, 1862; Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson, poet and journalist, 1864; Sir Ernest Davis, philanthropist, 1872; Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, theologian and essayist, 1888.

Deaths: Tamberlane the Great, Mongol leader, 1405; Giordano Bruno, philosopher, burnt at the stake 1600; Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), playwright, 1673; James Renwick, Covenanter, executed 1688; Antoine Galland, orientalist and translator of The Thousand and One Nights, 1715; James Macpherson, poet, 1796; Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, educationist, 1827; William Collins, painter, 1847; John Martin, historical painter, 1854; (Harry) Heinrich Heine, poet, 1856; John Braham (Abraham), singer and composer, 1856; Christopher Latham Sholes, inventor of a typewriter, 1890; Henry Steel Olcott, a founder of the Theosophical Society, 1907; Geronimo (Goyathlay - 'One Who Yawns'), Apache chief, 1909; Sir Wilfrid Laurier, statesman, 1919; Albert, King of the Belgians, 1934; Gus Elen (Ernest Augustus Elen), music-hall artiste, 1940; Hans Hofmann, painter, 1966; Sir Donald Wolfit, actor, 1968; Samuel Joseph Agnon, writer, 1970; Graham Vivian Sutherland, painter, 1980; David Garnett, novelist, 1981; Lee Strasberg, actor and founder of the Actors' Studio, 1982.

On this day: the Yorkists were defeated by the Lancastrians at the Battle of St Albans, 1461; the 'draisine', forerunner of the bicycle, was patented by Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun, 1818; the Pact of Bordeaux was signed, 1871; an attempt to assassinate Tsar Alexander II of Russia was made by an explosion at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, 1880; Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly was first produced, Milan 1904; the inner tomb of Tutankhamun was opened at Luxor by a team led by Lord Carnarvon, 1923; the British National Health Service White Paper was issued, 1944; a majority in the House of Commons decided that Britain should join the Common Market, 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Evermod, St Finan of Lindisfarne, St Fintan of Cloneenagh, St Loman, The Seven Servite Founders and Saints Theodulus and Julian.