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Births: Francis II, King of France, 1544; James Watt, inventor and perfector of the steam engine, 1736; Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre, author, 1737; Joseph Bonomi Snr, architect, 1739; Johann Elert Bode, astronomer, 1747; Robert Edward Lee, Confederate general, 1807; Edgar Allan Poe, author and poet, 1809; Sir Henry Bessemer, engineer, 1813; Ferdinand Laub, violinist, 1832; Paul Cezanne, painter, 1839; Augustine Birrell, author and politician, 1850; Boris Blacher, composer, 1903; Iris Guiver Wilkinson (Robin Hyde), novelist and journalist, 1906.

Deaths: Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, courtier, poet and soldier, executed 1547; Paris Bordone, painter, 1571; Hans Sachs, poet and song composer, 1576; William Congreve, playwright, 1729; Isaac D'Israeli, writer, 1848; Jean-Baptiste Paulin, painter, 1855; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, journalist and socialist, 1865; Henri Regnault, painter, 1871; Henri-Victor Regnault, physicist and chemist, 1878; George Henry Boughton, painter, 1905.

On this day: King Edward III established the Order of the Garter, 1348; the Heidelberg Catechism was published, 1563; John Wilkes was expelled from the House of Commons for seditious libel, 1764; King Louis XVI was tried at the French Convention, 1793; the coast of Antarctica was discovered by the American sailor, Captain Charles Wilkes, 1840; Verdi's opera Il Trovatore was performed for the first time, Rome 1853; Massenet's opera Manon was first performed, Paris 1884; President Theodore Roosevelt sent greetings to King Edward VII from Washington to London by wireless telegraphy, 1903; the first raid on England by Zeppelins took place, when bombs were dropped on Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, 1915; an explosion occurred at Woolwich Arsenal, the East London munitions factory, with 450 casualties, including 69 killed, 1917; Burma was invaded by the Japanese, 1942; Indira Gandhi became prime minister of India, 1966.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Abachum and Audifax, St Albert of Cashel, St Canute IV of Denmark, St Charles of Sezze, St Fillan or Foelan, St Germanicus, St Henry of Uppsala, Saints Marius and Martha, St Messalina, St Nathalan and St Wulfstan.