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Births: Sir Thomas Browne, writer and physician, 1605; James Henry Leigh Hunt, poet and essayist, 1784; Auguste-Marie Louis-Nicolas Lumiere, photographic pioneer, 1862.

Deaths: Sir Thomas Browne, writer and physician, 1682; Jonathan Swift, author, 1745; George Mortimer Pullman, sleeping-car manufacturer, 1897; Ernest, first Baron Rutherford of Nelson, physicist, 1937; Jacqueline du Pre, cellist, 1987.

On this day: the American War of Independence ended, 1781; Napoleon began his retreat from Moscow, 1812; Wagner's opera Tannhauser was first performed, Dresden 1845; the People's Republic of China was proclaimed, 1949; President Samora Machel of Mozambique and 30 of his staff were killed in the plane crash on the South African border, 1986.

Today Today is the Feast Day of St Aquilinus of Evreux, St Charles Garnier, St Cleopatra, St Ethbin, St Frideswide, St Gabriel Lalemant, Saints Jean Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, St John of Lalande, St Noel Chabanel, St Paul of the Cross, St Peter of Alcantara, St Philip Howard, Saints Ptolemaeus and Lucius St Rene Goupil and St Varus.