October 3rd, 1862
A friend sent FR a proof of his review of "Purgatorio," one part of Dante's The Divine Comedy, and she wrote to thank him for it. She then shared her interest in the Italian poets.
"In early life I was deep in the Italian poets, particularly what then no one cared for . . . their grand patriotic and political poetry. . . . Some years ago the railway thieves stole a box of books of mine and all my Italian poets, so I have not read of late, but I have often thought of Dante, Petrarca, and Filicaia, and their almost prophetic anticipations of the future of Italy, now come."
What was this future now come? For years Italy had been struggling towards unification. Finally, in March of 1861, the Italian Parliament proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, and Rome as its capital, even though Rome was not yet part of the united area. In August of 1862, Garibaldi led his army in an unsuccessful bid to annex Rome, and this is where things now stood.
Two years previously FR was collecting money for Garibaldi by means of a woman's penny subscription: ". . . Garibaldi has opened twelve Orphan Asylums in Naples he really deserves our aid."