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Births: Nathan Field, actor and playwright, baptised 1587; John Wilkes, political reformer and journalist, 1727; Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny, composer, 1729; Claude-Henri, Comte de Saint-Simon, economist and social reformer, 1760; Karl Georg Buchner, playwright, 1813; Elinor Glyn, novelist, 1864; Baroness Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), author, 1885; Spring Byington, actress, 1893; Nathanael West (Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein), novelist, 1903; Jean Arthur (Gladys Georgianna Greene), actress, 1905; Rita Hayworth (Margarita Carmen Cansino), actress, 1918; Montgomery Clift, actor, 1920.

Deaths: Sir Philip Sidney, poet, soldier and courtier, died of septicaemia after being wounded, Arnhem 1586; Rene-Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur, scientist, 1757; Edward, first Baron Hawke, admiral of the fleet, 1781; John Brown, physician and medical reformer, 1788; George Colman (the younger), playwright, 1836; Frederic- Francois Chopin (Fryderyk Franciszek), composer, 1849; Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, physicist, 1887; Marie- Edme Patrice-Maurice Mac-Mahon, Duc de Magenta, Marshal of France, statesman, 1893; Charles Wellington Furse, painter, 1904; Julia Ward Howe, author of 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', 1910; Ludwig III, ex-King of Bavaria, 1921; Karl Kautsky, moderate Marxist theorist, 1938; Sir William Jackson Pope, chemist, 1939; Ellsworth Huntington, geographer, 1947; Henry P'u-i (Hsuan-T'ung or K'ang-te) last emperor of the Ch'ing (Manchu) dynasty in China, 1967; Sidney Joseph Perelman, humorist, 1979.

On this day: David II of Scotland was defeated and captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross in Durham, 1346; under the Treaty of Dunkirk, the city was sold by Charles II to the French, 1662; Charles II escaped from Cromwell's army across the English Channel, 1651; during the American War of Independence, the British General Burgoyne surrendered to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, 1777; Napoleon was exiled and arrived on the island of St Helena, 1815; British and French forces began the Siege of Sebastopol, 1854; a steel- making process was patented by Sir Henry Bessemer, 1855; British troops defeated the Boers at Glencoe, 1899; The Duchess of Dantzig, a comic opera by Henry Hamilton and Ivan Caryll, was first produced, London 1903; Turkey declared war on Bulgaria and Serbia, 1912; over 3,000 people died during an earthquake in Greece and Asia Minor, 1914; the republics of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were formally established, 1918; Cyrano de Bergerac was the first radio play broadcast in Britain from 2MT Writtle, 1922; Al Capone, bootlegger, was sentenced to 11 years in jail for income-tax evasion, the United States 1931; the musical show And So to Bed was first produced, London 1951; the first nuclear power station in the world was opened at Calder Hall, 1956; the De Beers diamond firm in South Africa announced that synthetic diamonds had been made, 1959.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anstrudis or Austrude, Saints Ethelbert and Ethelred, St Ignatius of Antioch, St John the Dwarf, St Nothelm, St Rule, St Seraphino and the Ursuline Martyrs of Valenciennes.