To be able to look back upon one’s past life with satisfaction is to live twice…

Lord Acton

John Emerich Edward Acton was born at Naples in 1834, the only son of Sir Ferdinand Richard Edward Acton. At the age of three years, John Acton, with the death of his father, inherited a large estate and became the eighth baronet of Aldenham Park in Shropshire. In 1840, his widowed mother married Lord Leveson (1815-91)3. At the age of nine years, young John was sent off to St. Mary’s College at Oscott; at the age of fourteen he was sent for private tutoring at Edinburgh; and then, at age 16, unable to obtain admission to Cambridge (Catholics were not acceptable) he was sent to Germany (Munich) to be placed in the care of a theologian, one who had taken orders in the Catholic church, Dr. Dollinger, with whom he was to have a life long connection. Other accruements to his education were to be had early in his career, when, as but a young man, he was to attend with certain key political players (through his stepfather’s connections, no doubt) to international events in such places as Russia and America. In this process, Acton received a superb education, though he was never enrolled at any university


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