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BASSETT


344


BASSI


Hasseia district, as early as 153.5, an orphanage for the education and maintenance of forty boys, all converts from paganism, imder the invocation of Nossa Senhora da Luz. This orphanage gave to the Church the first Indian martjTS known to liistorj-. In April, 1540, a Mohammedan force from Gujerat approached the orphanage, on the return from a fruitless attack on the Bassein fort. Nearly all the inmates of the orphanage had fled for shelter to the fort, but five of them had remained. These were at firsi urged to renoimce their faith; failing in this, the Mohammedans cruelly tortured them, and lock- ing them in a room set fire to it.

in 1542 the Jesuits came to Bassein. St. Francis Xa\ier \-isited the city of Bassein three times, once in 1544, and twice in 1548. During his last visit, in December, 154S, he founded the College of the Holy Name of God. The Jesuits on their advent divided both the missionarj' and educational work with the Fr.anciscans, the latter labouring among the lower, and the former among the higher, classes. Other religious orders also found their way to Bassein, wliich became the centre of their missionary activity. In the college of the Jesuits in the Bassein fort St. Gonsalo Garcia was brought up from liis early youth. He was bom about the year 1.564. At the age of sixteen he voluntarily accompanied some of the Jesuit fathers of the college, who were ordered to join the mission of Japan. He laboured with singular zeal as a catechist for eight years, having acquired the Japanese language marvellously within a short time. During that time he petitioned to join the order, but as his reception was delayed he left the Jesuits on the best of terms and became a merchant. He was blessed with an abundance of riches which he distributed largely among the poor.

Business interests often took Gonsalo to Manila, where he used to \-isit the Franciscan fathers and assist them as an interpreter in hearing the confes- sions of some Japanese Christians. On one occasion, when deep in prayer, he was inspired to seek ad- mission into the Franciscan Order. He did so. and became an exemplary lay brother. On 21 May. 1593, he was sent back to Japan with a body of Franciscans to aid them in preacliing the Gospel. The many conversions made by them caused a perse- cution which gave to the Church the first martyrs of Japan. They were twenty-six in number and were crucified on a hill at Nagasaki 5 February, 1597. They were beatified in 1627, and canonized in 1S62.

Bassein was taken from the Portuguese by the Mahrattas in 1739, from the Mahrattas by the English in 1802, and is now a ruined town of much historic interest wliich no one who goes to Bombay fails to visit. The fort is perhaps the best of the ruined Portuguese fortifications in India. Bassein is a Christian oasis in the midst of the pagan and Mohammedan population of India. It has nine churches, twelve priests, and 16,119 Christians, all Cathohcs; a Protestant mission was opened in 1904 by the Ritualists but did not flomish and is now practically abandoned.

D'CuNHA, History and Antiquities of Bassein; The Bombay Gazetteer, XIII, XIV; Ferx.\ndes, Life of St. Gonsalo Garcia.

P. A. Fernandes.

Bassett, Joshua, convert and controversialist. Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, England, under James II, b. about 1641, at Lynn Regis, where his father was a merchant; d. in London, in 1720. In 1657, after preliminary instruction by a Mr. Bell, he was admitted sizar of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in care of a Mr. Bolt. He proceeded B. A. in 1661, M. A. in 1665, and B. D. in 1671. In 1664 he became junior fellow, and in 1673 senior fellow of liis college. On the death of Dr. Richard MinsliuU in December, 1686, he was, by mandate of James II. elected Master of Sidney Sussex College.


He was installed without the usual oatlis, and in January declared himself a Cathohc. He had Mass celebrated in his private rooms, and altered some of the college statutes which stood in the way of his co-reUgionists. He was concerned in the famous dispute wliich arose when the king demanded thai the university confer the degree of M. A. upon the Benedictine, Alban Francis. After the Revolution, when Bassett, having left the college in haste, desired to take away his personal belongings, he was threat- ened with arrest as a priest. It is thought, however, that Bassett had not been ordained. He died in extreme poverty.

The critics of Bassett admitted that he possessed learning and abihty, but objected to liis pride and to his interference, for religious reasons, with college regulations and routine. He forbade a chapel service on the otli of November, disciphned a speaker who had satirized Rome, and threatened to take over the chapel for Catholic ser\-ices. Craven, who was Master of Sidney Sussex College, declared in 1725 tliat Bassett "had so many nostrums in his religion that no part of the Roman Church could own him". Gillow believes that Bassett acted in his conversion from a thorough con\-iction. His known or sup- posed writings are: (1) "Ecclesia; Theoria Nova DodwelUana Exposita" (1713), the only work con- taining his name on the title page; (2) "Reason and Authority" (1687); (3) "Essay towards a proposal for a Catholic commimion ... by a minister of the Church of England" (1704); tliis was reprinted in 1879, with an introduction, in "An Eirenicon of the Eighteenth Centurj'" by H. N. Oxenham; (4) Occasional verses in the University collections.

Cooper in Diet. Nat. Biog., Ill, 381; Gillow, Bibl. Diet. Eng. Cath., I, 153; Macaulat, History of England.

J. V. Crowne.

Bassi, Matthew of, founder and first Superior- General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, the principal branch issued from the Reform of the Ob- servance, b. in 1495, at Bascio, Diocese of Monte- feltro, in the Duchy of Urbino; d. at Venice in 1.552. At the age of seventeen he entered the Order of the Observants at Montefiorentino. In 1525 he was a priest and missionary, being a member of the Re- formed Province of Ancona. Moved by the need of reform which was felt almost all through the Franciscan family, he resolved, in 1525, the year of the Jubilee, to begin a more austere life, choosing a form of garb more resembling that of St. Francis. Clement \TI granted his request and also permitted him to preach everywhere and to have a companion. Some other members of the Observance asked and ob- tained permission to join him, and on the 3d of July. 1528, the pope issued the Bull "Religionis zelus", by which the new Reform was canonically approved and placed under the nominal jurisdiction of the Conventuals. The name "Capuchin", at first given by the people to the new Franciscan monks, was afterwards officially adopted. In the pontifical decrees Bassi's followers are variously styled "Capu- cini", Capuciati", Capulati", and "Fratresde Observant ia Capucinorum".

In April, 1529, the new order held its first chapter at Albacina, where Matthew of Bassi was elected vicar-general by acclamation. A code of constitu- tions which was to serve as a basis to the Reform was elaborated. But the humble founder did not hold his charge verj- long. After visiting liis bretliren. wishing to resume his apostolic career, and perhaps feeling powerless against the difficulties which menaced his disciples, he resigned his office. Thence- forward he took no part in the government of the order. He even decided, about 1537, to return to the obedience of the Observants, through fear of incurring some ecclesiastical censure. .\s if was, these last had obtained, at different times,