- The Purchase of Swarthmoor Hall
- Bulletin of Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia
- Friends Historical Association
- Volume 5, Number 1, Fourth Month (April) 1913
- pp. 20-22
- View Citation
- Additional Information
20BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL SOCIETY. THE PURCHASE OF SWARTHMOOR HALL. The Bulletin of Eleventh month, 1912, reprinted from the London Friend, a letter of Thomas Hodgkin, giving a statement of the terms upon which Swarthmoor Hall had been purchased in the interests of the Society of Friends. It seems, however, that Miss Abraham entertained views regarding the terms of purchase quite different from those who contributed to the purchase fund in the interest of Friends. After protracted negotiations between the counsel of the two parties, a compromise arrangement has been agreed upon substantially as follows: i. The property is to be conveyed to Miss Emma C. Abraham , she paying the purchase money, ¿5,250. Of this sum, one half is advanced to Miss Abraham by the Friends, to be secured by a mortgage with interest at 3% per annum in favor of certain "Selected Friends," who will practically act as Trustees for the Society. This mortgage is not to be called in during the joint lives of Miss Abraham and her nephew, E. Mitford Abraham of British Columbia, or the survivor of them, provided certain covenants and provisions are observed by the mortgagor and the option agreement mentioned below remains in force. 2.Miss Abraham is to execute an agreement with the selected Friends containing provisions to the following effect: (1) These Friends and the survivors of them, are to have an option to purchase the property within six months after the death of the survivor of Miss Abraham and her nephew, E. Mitford Abraham, on the receipt of a notice from the Limited Owner (Miss Abraham or E. Mitford Abraham). The price under the option is to be ¿5,250, plus the value of additions, alterations or improvements (unexhausted) or new buildings approved or consented to by these Friends, less the amount at the time due upon the mortgage if then subsisting. 3.During the continuance of the option the Limited Owner is not to sell, or dispose of the property or any part of it otherwise than by will or by letting it for not more than five years, THE PURCHASE OF SWARTHMOOR HALL.21 unless she first gives these selected Friends six months' notice, and they do not within that period give a counter-notice of their desire to purchase the property under the option. If the property is disposed of by will, the devisee under the will is to hold it subject to the option if still exercisable. 4. Covenants are made by Miss Abraham that without the consent of these selected Friends no material alteration or addition is to be made, no mines are to be opened, and no minerals are to be removed or excavated otherwise than for use on the property ; that the property is not to be used for any other purpose than as a private dwelling-house, farm or like agricultural use, and that no trade or business is to be carried on thereon, and that the sale of intoxicating liquors is not to be allowed on the property, but the owner or occupying tenant may receive lodgers, boarders or paying guests of a respectable class; that reasonable facilities, free of charge, are to be given for the Friends and the public, to go over and view the property for its historical interest; that these Friends and persons authorized by them may view the condition of the property at reasonable times ; that the Limited Owner will keep the house and buildings, panellings and other fixtures and fittings in good and substantial repair, and insured. There will be almost universal regret that at present only a deferred ownership for Friends is practicable, but it will be seen from the above condensation of the agreements, that the Society of Friends will ultimately acquire complete ownership of this cradle of Quakerism. Miss Abraham is a lineal descendant of Margaret Fell, and one can sympathize with her in her desire that the family should again possess the property sold long ago by an ancestor through stress of circumstances. Still, under existing conditions, and in view of the purpose of the would-be purchasers to preserve the property, and honor not only the memory of George...