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Births: Samuel Dircksz van Hoogstraten, Dutch painter, 1627; Gerard Audran, artist and engraver, 1640; Henry Steel Olcott, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, 1832; Elisha Gray, an inventor of the telephone, 1835; Francis Marion Crawford, novelist, 1854; Ernest Christopher Dowson, poet, 1867; Ethel Mary Dell (Mrs GT Savage), novelist, 1881; Sir Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, composer, 1891; Leslie Lincoln Henson, actor-manager, 1891.

Deaths: King William II (William Rufus), shot in the New Forest, 1100; Thomas Gainsborough, painter, 1788; Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, balloonist, 1799; Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, 1849; 'Wild Bill' Hickok (James Butler), western marshal, shot dead, 1876; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, 1922; Louis Bleriot, aviator, 1936; Pietro Mascagni, composer, 1945; Wallace Stevens, poet, 1955; Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge, author, 1963; Fritz Lang, film director, 1976; Carlos Chavez, composer, 1978.

On this day: Napoleon was declared 'Consul for life', 1802; the government of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown, 1858; British Columbia became a Crown Colony, 1858; death duties were first introduced, 1894; Russian troops invaded East Prussia, 1914; the Potsdam Conference ended, 1945; Iraqi tanks and infantry invaded and occupied Kuwait, 1990.

Today is the Feast Day of St Eusebius of Vercelli, St Plegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, St Sidwell or Sativola, St Stephen I, Pope, St Syagrius of Autun and St Theodota and her Three Sons.