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Births: John Arbuthnot, physician and author, 1667; David Cox, landscape painter, 1783; Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, 1818; Jules-Henri Poincare, mathematician and astronomer, 1854; William Randolph Hearst, newspaper proprietor, 1863; Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor, 1879; Sir Malcolm Sargent, conductor, 1895; 'Duke' Ellington, jazz composer and bandleader, 1899.

Deaths: John Cleveland, poet, 1658; George Farquhar, playwright, 1707; Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis (Constantine Cavafy), poet, 1933; Wallace Carothers, chemist and developer of nylon, 1937; Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, film director, 1980.

On this day: the Siege of Orleans was relieved, 1429; Captain James Cook landed at Kurnell, Botany Bay, Australia, 1770; the Corn Law Bill received Royal Assent, 1842; at Oxford University a statute was passed admitting women to examinations, 1884; in Roseville, California, a US Navy munitions train blew up in a marshalling yard, setting off a chain of 100 more explosions, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of St Catherine of Siena, St Hugh of Cluny, St Joseph Cottolengo, St Robert of Molesmes and St Wilfrid the Younger.