Margaret Fell (1614-1702), on of George Fox's first converts, was the "mother of Quakerism". Her home at Swarthmoor Hall was a haven for Quaker ministers and a hub for organizing, relief efforts, and communication. After her first husband, Judge Thomas Fell, died, she married George Fox. Like many early Quaker leaders, she was imprisoned for her faith. Her combination of deep spirituality and practicality were of immeasurable help to the first generation of Friends.
I do see the secret work of God going on in people's minds. Look not at the hard rocks, nor look not at briars, nor look not at the thorns, nor at the mountains, nor at the coldness, for the true seeds-men must not regard the weather, the winds that blow; they sow the seed before the winter. (Letter to prisoners, 1653)
The eternal spirit of God is one in all, and that which divides one from another, is for judgment, for where division is, that is of the kingdom that cannot stand. So read where you are, for if you are in that which is divided, you cannot stand. So in love and tenderness to your souls, I warn and charge you from the Lord, keep in the light, which is one, in the power, which is one, in the measure of life made manifest in you, which is one. And here is no division, nor separation, but a gathering and a knitting. (Epistle to Friends, 1655)
Friends, deal plainly with yourselves, and let the eternal light search you, and try you, for the good of your souls; for this will deal plainly with you; it will rip you up, lay you open, and make all manifest that lodgeth in you; the secret subtilty of the enemy of your souls, this searcher and tryer will make manifest. . .consider one another, and provoke one another to love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of yourselves, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. And dwell in love and unity, in the pure eteral light; there is your fellowship, there is your cleansing and washing. . .And the everlasting God, of light, life and power, keep you all faithful to your own measure; that so the resurrection and the life ye may witness, and the living bread ye may feed on, which, whosoever eateth of, shall never die. (Epistle to convinced Friends, 1656)
. . .certainly that promise that thou mad'st in true simplicity, as I do believe, was then in thy heart, that thou wouldst give liberty to tender consciences, I am assured it is upon record in the sight of the Lord God; and thou art bound unto Him in thy conscience to perform. And therefore is my heart afflicted with the danger that thou incurrest; seeing merciless men are set to work to come into the meetings of God's people, with swords, pistols and muskets, as if it were against thieves or open professed enemies. (From letter to King Charles II, 1660)
Those that speak against the power of the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord speaking in a woman, simply by reason of her sex, or because she is a woman, not regarding the Seed and Spirit and Power that speaks in her, such speak against Christ and his Church. . .Jesus owned the love and grace that appeared in women, and did not despise it. And by what is recorded in the Scriptures, he received as much love, kindness, compassion, and tender dealing towards him from women as he did from any others, both in his life-time and also after they had exercised their cruelty upon him. . .Mark this, you that despise and oppose the message of the Lord God that he sends by Women. What had become of the redemption of the whole body of mankind, if they had not believed the message that the Lord Jesus sent by these women, of and concerning his resurrection, and so were ready to carry his message. (from Women's Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures, 1664)
Let us beware of this, of separating or looking upon ourselves to be more holy, than in deed and in truth we are. . .Away with these whimsical, narrow imaginations, and let the spirit of God which he hath given us, lead us and guide us; and let us stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. . .This narrowness and strictness is entering in, that many cannot tell what to do, or not to do. Poor Friends is mangled in their minds, that they know not what to do; for one Friend says one way, and another, another. But Christ Jesus saith, that we must take no thought what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or what we shall put on; but bids us consider the lilies how they grow in more royalty than Solomon. But contrary to this, they say we must look at no colours, nor make anything that is changeable colours as the hills are, nor sell them nor wear them. But we must be all in one dress, and one colour. This is a silly poor Gospel. It is more fit for us to be covered with God's eternal spirit, and clothed with his eternal Light, which leads us and guides us into righteousness and to live righteously and justly and holily in this present evil world. (Epistle against Uniform Quaker costume, 1700)