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Births: Thomas Hobbes, philosopher, 1588; Elihu Yale, merchant, administrator and founder of Yale College, 1649; Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, lover and adventurer, 1724; Jean-Honore Fragonard, painter, 1732; Sebastien Erard, piano and harp-maker, 1752; Ludwig Spohr, violin virtuoso and composer, 1784; Sir Henry Havelock, soldier, 1795; Vincenzo Fioravanti, composer, 1799; Jules Dupre, landscape painter, 1811; Sydney Thompson Dobell, poet, 1824; Joseph Lister, first Baron Lister, surgeon and pioneer of antiseptics in surgery, 1827; Jules-Francois-Camille Ferry, statesman, 1832; Algernon Charles Swinburne, poet, 1837; Spencer Tracy, actor, 1900; Bette (Ruth Elizabeth) Davis, actress, 1908.

Deaths: William Brounker, second Viscount Brounker, first president of the Royal Society, 1684; Edward Young, poet, 1765; Georges-Jacques Danton, revolutionary leader, guillotined 1794; Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday Schools, 1811; Paul Vidal de la Blache, geographer, 1918; George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, fifth Earl of Carnarvon, Egyptologist, 1923; Jane Ellen Harrison, scholar and archaeologist, 1928; Vincent Millie Youmans, composer, 1946; Douglas MacArthur, general, 1964; Howard Robard Hughes, aviator, industrialist and film producer, 1976; Chiang Kai-shek, statesman and soldier, 1975; Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur Travers Harris Bt, former chief of Bomber Command, 1984; Molly Picon, comedienne and actress, 1992.

On this day: the Addled Parliament (which made no enactments) began sitting, 1614; Oscar Wilde was arrested for offences committed with Lord Alfred Douglas, 1895; an attempt was made to assassinate the Prince of Wales in Brussels, 1900; the Observer newspaper was acquired by WW (later Viscount) Astor, 1911; the Germans on the Western Front completed their withdrawal, 1917; the second Battle of the Somme ended, 1918; the Dail Eireann chose a Sinn Fein Executive, with Eamon de Valera as president, 1919; in Japan, Kuniaki Koiso resigned as prime minister, and was succeeded by Kantaro Suzuki, 1945; Sir Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister, 1955; the first driverless automatic trains ran on London's Underground, 1964; in the US, an outbreak of violence by black people occurred in many cities, including Washington, New York, Chicago and Detroit, 1968; the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth was sold to an American syndicate for dollars 3.23m, 1968; in Guatemala, the West German ambassador was found murdered after having been kidnapped by left-wing rebels five days earlier, 1970; in Sicily, Mount Etna erupted, followed by violent flows of lava, 1971; Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister, 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Albert of Montecorvino, St Derfel-Gadarn, St Ethelburga of Lyminge, St Gerald of Sauve-Majeure and St Vincent Ferrer.