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Births: William Cobbett, politician and author, 1763; Taras Grigoryevich Shevchenko, poet, 1814; Jean Joseph Bott, violinist and composer, 1826; Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, sculptor, 1850; Ernest Goodrich Acheson, chemist, 1856; Bertrand Edward, first Viscount Dawson, physician, 1864; Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, politician, 1890; David Garnett, novelist, 1892; Victoria Mary Sackville-West, novelist, 1892; Howard Hathaway Aiken, mathematician and computer pioneer, 1900; Rex Ernest Warner, novelist, historian and translator, 1905; Samuel Barber, composer, 1910; Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, astronaut, 1934.

Deaths: David Rizzio, musician and secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, murdered 1566; Simon Fraser, 12th Baron Lovat, Jacobite, executed for treason 1747; Samuel Jebb, physician and scholar, 1772; John Gully, MP, prize-fighter and horse-racer, 1863; Charles Knight, author and publisher, 1873; Arnold Toynbee, social philosopher, 1883; Wilhelm I, former Emperor of Germany, 1888; Frank Wedekind, poet and playwright, 1918; Barbara Mullen, actress, 1979; Imogen Holst, musician, 1984.

On this day: Napoleon Buonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais, 1796; Louis-Philippe of France founded the French Foreign Legion in Algeria, 1831; the Russians were defeated by the Japanese at Mukden, 1905; King George V laid the foundation stone of London County Hall, 1912; the Defence of the Realm Act was passed, 1915; the capital of Russia was moved from Petrograd (Leningrad) to Moscow, 1918; Eamon de Valera became president of the Irish Republic, 1932; the USSR sent 'Laika', the first dog into space, in Sputnik 9, 1961.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bosa, St Catharine of Bologna, St Dominic Savio, St Frances of Rome, St Gregory of Nyssa and St Pacianus.