Births: Pietro Francesco (Caletti di Bruni) Cavalli, composer, 1602; Thomas Robert Malthus, economist, 1766; Christopher Latham Sholes, inventor of an early typewriter, 1819; Quintin Hogg, founder of the polytechnic, 1845; Frank (James Thomas) Harris, journalist and author, 1856; Israel Zangwill, novelist, playwright and Zionist leader, 1864; Frederick Philip Grove (Felix Paul Berthold Friedrich Greve), novelist, 1879; Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), comedian and actor, 1894.

Deaths: Pope Honorius II, 1130; Richard II, King, 1400; John Hadley, mathematician and inventor, 1744; Captain James Cook, sea-captain and explorer, murdered 1779; Sir William Blackstone, jurist, 1780; William Dyce, painter, 1864; William Tecumseh Sherman, general, 1891; John Macallan Swan, painter and sculptor, 1910; Hendrick Antoon Lorentz, physicist, 1928; Maj-Gen. Henry Edward Manning Douglas, VC, 1939; Sir William Rothenstein, artist, 1945; Sir Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse, 1975; Sir Julian Sorell Huxley, biologist and philosopher, 1975; Frederick (Fritz) Loewe, composer, 1988.

On this day: the Great Swabian League was formed, 1488; King William III announced to Parliament the discovery of the plot by Sir John Fenwick to assassinate him, 1696; the Spanish Fleet was defeated off Cape St Vincent by John Jervis and Horatio Nelson, 1797; Oregon became the 33rd of the United States, 1859; Yuan Shi-kai became the first president of the Chinese republic, 1912; Arizona became the 48th of the United States, 1912; Marconi began the first regular broadcasting transmissions in England, 1922; the St Valentine's Day Massacre took place in Chicago, 1929; the German 42,345- ton battleship Bismarck was launched, 1939; following a night and day bombardment by US Air Force and RAF heavy bombers, the German city of Dresden was reduced to a ruin, 1945; the Bank of England was nationalised, 1946; Nikita Khrushchev, at the 20th Soviet Communist Party Conference, denounced the policies of Josef Stalin, 1956; South Africa introduced decimal coinage based on the new ``Rand'', 1961; Harold Wilson became leader of the British Labour Party, 1963; the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa on the author Salman Rushdie, alleging blasphemy in his book Satanic Verses, 1989.

Today is the St Valentine's Day and the Feast Day of St Abraham of Carrhae, St Adolf of Osnabruck, St Antoninus of Sorrento, St Auxentius, St Conran, Saints Cyril and Methodius, St Maro and St John Baptist of the Conception.