An extract from a letter written by Dr John T Baumgartner to his son, Colonel Mowbray Baumgartner in India
The old Nest (Island Hall GMC) 15th May 1861
My dear Mowbray
Here we are as you see halfway over the month of May, there is not a leaf on the Elms to shelter the young Rooks in their lofty habitations. Winter has usurped the domain of spring and levied contributions on Flora Ceres & Pomona.
There is a general complaint of the appearance of the wheat crop. Nursery men have suffered great loss by the intensity of the frost, particularly in the Rose Trees and other less hardy flowering shrubs, Our Jasmins, both yellow & white have perished as for fruit, there is not a single bunch of grapes on our walls, nor peaches & very few apricots. But there is a change today, so the orchards may escape. Provisions have been dear, yet farmers the little ones at least, are thriving. The Poor’s Rates, the Property Tax, & the monstrous incubus of the Exchequer Budget set upon the nation, like the Night mare and oppress its powers ……….