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Births: Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, painter, 1712; John Adams, second US President, 1735; Maria Anna Angelica Kauffmann, painter, 1741; Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan, playwright, 1751; Andre-Marie de Chenier, poet, 1762; Stefano Arteaga, historian of Italian opera, 1799; Henry James, first Baron James of Hereford, lawyer and government minister, 1828; Alfred Sisley, painter, 1840; Gustav Weber, composer, 1845; Gertrude Franklin Atherton, novelist, 1857; Paul- Ambroise-Toussaint-Jules Valery, poet, 1871; Francisco Idalecio Madero, politician, 1873; Elizabeth Madox Roberts, novelist, 1881; Ralph Hale Mottram, novelist, 1883; Ezra Loomis Pound, poet, 1885; Peter Warlock (Philip Arnold Heseltine), composer, 1894; Gerhard Domagk, pathologist, 1895.

Deaths: Admiral Edward Vernon ('Old Grog'), naval commander, 1757; Esteban Arteaga, scholar and Jesuit priest, 1799; Edmund Cartwright, power-loom inventor, 1823; Charles Robert Maturin, clergyman and author of Gothic tales, 1824; Allan Cunningham, poet, 1842; Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet, designer and painter, 1845; John Chubb, locksmith, 1872; Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, statesman, 1893; Jean- Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, 1910; Sir Charles Tupper, statesman, 1915; Francisco Pradilla, painter, 1921; Andrew Bonar Law, statesman, 1923; Pio Baroja, novelist, 1956; Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, novelist, 1958; James Allan Mollison, pioneer aviator, 1959; Conrad Michael Richter, novelist, 1968; Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, inventor, 1979.

On this day: the Moors were routed by the Castilians and Portuguese at the Battle of Salado, southern Spain, 1340; the Yeomen of the Guard were established by Henry VII, 1485; Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world when he arrived at Plymouth in the Golden Hind, 1580; Bolivar established an independent government for Venezuela, 1817; the Caledonian Canal, Scotland, was opened, 1822; the Armoury and Storehouse of the Tower of London caught fire, 1841; the comic opera Billee Taylor was first performed, London 1880; the Tsar of Russia agreed, under the 'October Manifesto', to grant civil liberties and elections, 1905; the Republic of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed, 1918; Benito Mussolini formed a Fascist Ministry in Italy, 1922; in Turkey, a republic was proclaimed under Mustapha Kemal, 1923; Orson Welles's radio play of HG Wells's The War of the Worlds, caused panic in the US, 1938.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alphonsus Rodriguez, St Asterius of Amasea, St Ethelnoth, St Germanus of Capua, St Marcellus the Centurion and St Serapion of Antioch.