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Source Exercise 5: The Henrician Reformation 1

Source 1

For though we have a female heir, which is both endowed with much virtue and grace in many dotes [talents] and gifts, yet if a male might be attained, it were much more sure, if we well perpend [consider] and ponder many urgent and weighty causes: amongst which this one is deeply to be foreseen, that if the female heir shall chance to rule, she cannot continue long without an husband, which, by God’s law, must then be her governor and head, and so finally shall direct this realm. But who should that be, with the contentment of the subjects, methinks it were hard to excogitate; for proximity of blood is too great a let [obstacle] to some, otherwise meet [suitable] for that purpose, except we would be so beastly to put our neck eftsoons in the snare of this erroneous prohibited error, which is and has been always detested by the most part of all the famous clerks of Christendom: the punishment whereof were too terrible to be suffered, and also too abominable to be heard of, amongst Christian folk. On the other side, to other some, it were dangerous lest we should make them superiors to us, over whom we claim superiority, seeing that the man must rule the woman: others outward [foreign] meet personages our slender wits cannot comprehend.
And as touching any marriage within this realm, we think it were hard to devise any condign [suitable] and able person for so high an enterprise: much harder to find one with whom the whole realm would and could be contented to have him their ruler and governor. Wherefore we think the establishment of titles [claims to the throne] is not so surely rooted nor yet so entirely maintained by the female as by male...

A Glasse of the Truthe (London, 1532)


Questions

1. What is this source about? What does it seem to have been written for?

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