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Births: Robert Burton, author and scholar, 1577; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Il Guercino), painter, 1591; Samuel Butler, poet, 1612; Pierre- Daniel Huet, bishop and scholar, 1630; Jean-Andre Deluc, meteorologist, 1727; Andre-Erneste-Modeste Gretry, composer, 1741; Johann Bernhard Logier, composer and writer, 1780; August Joseph Norbert Burgmuller, composer, 1810; Wilhelm Camphausen, painter, 1818; John Ruskin, writer, artist and art critic, 1819; William Tecumseh Sherman, general, 1820; Henry Walter Bates, naturalist and explorer, 1825; Jules Verne, novelist, 1828; Martin Buber, Jewish religious philosopher, 1878; Dame Edith Mary Evans, actress, 1888; King Wallis Vidor, film director, 1894; Chester Floyd Carlson, inventor of Xerox copying, 1906; James Dean (James Byron), actor, 1931.

Deaths: Mary, Queen of Scots, beheaded 1587; Giuseppe Torelli, composer, 1709; Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, 1725; Moritz von Schwind, painter, 1871; Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India, murdered 1872; Robert Michael Ballantyne, author of books for boys, 1894; Jean- Francois Portaels, painter, 1895; Gustaf Froding, poet, 1911; Prince Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin, anarchist and geographer, 1921; William Bateson, biologist and geneticist, 1926; Max Liebermann, painter and etcher, 1935; Prince Nicholas of Greece, 1938; Sir Victor Gollancz, publisher and writer, 1967.

On this day: Catherine I became Empress of Russia, 1725; the Great Frost of London ended, 1740; the Morning Advertiser newspaper was first published, 1794; looting and riots broke out after a peaceable demonstration in Trafalgar Square by the unemployed, 1886; DW Griffith's film Birth of a Nation was first shown, 1915; 374 people died after the French cruiser Admiral Charner was torpedoed off the Syrian coast, 1916; in the Soviet Union, Malenkov resigned and was succeeded by NA Bulganin, 1955; 14 British mercenaries were executed by firing squad, Angola 1976.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cuthman, St Elfleda, St Jerome Emiliani, St John of Matha, St Meingold, St Nicetius or Nizier of Besancon and St Stephen of Muret.