Acton, Sir John Francis Edward

Acton, Sir John Francis Edward,

1736?–1811, Neapolitan statesman of British origin, b. Besançon, France. Called upon by Queen Marie Caroline and King Ferdinand IV of Naples (later Ferdinand IFerdinand I,
1751–1825, king of the Two Sicilies (1816–25). He had previously been king of Naples (1759–99, 1799–1805, 1815–16) as Ferdinand IV and king of Sicily (1759–1816) as Ferdinand III.
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 of the Two Sicilies) to reform the Neapolitan army and navy in 1779, Acton also served as minister of finance and as prime minister (1785–1806 with brief interruptions). With the assistance of Emma Lady HamiltonHamilton, Emma, Lady,
1765?–1815, mistress of the British naval hero Horatio Nelson. Born Emma Lyon, she became the mistress of Charles Greville, then of Sir William Hamilton, ambassador to Naples, whom she married (1791).
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, the queen's confidante, he rid Naples of Spanish influence and strengthened ties with Great Britain and with Austria. He shared the political vicissitudes of the royal family, going with them into exile in 1798 after Naples had been taken by the French. After the fall of the Parthenopean RepublicParthenopean Republic
[from Parthenope, an ancient name of Naples], state set up in Naples in Jan., 1799, by the French Revolutionary army under General Championnet and by liberal Neapolitans after the flight of King Ferdinand IV (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies).
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 (1799), he played a major role in the bloody reprisals and consolidated absolutism. In 1806, the French reconquest of Naples under Napoleon I forced Acton into exile again.
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