Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/377

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Bass
Bass
371

We find that 'Mark Baskett and the assigns of Robert Barker' printed two quarto bibles at London in 1761 and 1763, and a folio prayer-book, 1706. With the name of Mark Baskett is connected a remarkable bibliographical mystery. Isaiah Thomas, our chief authority for the history of printing in North America, assures us that 'Kneeland and Green' printed [at Boston about 1752], principally for Daniel Henchman, an edition of the Bible in small 4to. This was the first Bible printed in America in the English language. 'It was carried through the press as privately as possible, and had the London imprint of the copy from which it was reprinted, viz. "London: printed by Mark Baskett, printer to the king's most excellent majesty," in order to prevent a prosecution.' Thomas had often heard the story told when an apprentice. 'The late Governor Hancock was related to Henchman, and knew the particulars of the transaction. He possessed a copy of this impression,' of which between seven and eight hundred are said to have been struck off. Thomas also states that two thousand copies of a duodecimo New Testament had also been printed at Boston by Rogers & Fowle in the same disguised manner. 'Both the Bible and Testament were well executed.' 'Zechariah Fowle, with whom I served my apprenticeship, as well as several others, repeatedly mentioned to me this edition of the Testament. He was at the time a journeyman with Rogers & Fowle, and worked at the press' (I. Thomas, History of Printing in America, 2nd ed., i. 107-8, 123). The story is minute and circumstantial; but no bibliographer, not even Thomas himself, has yet seen either of the books. No Bible dated 1752 from the press of Mark Baskett can be found. His name first appears in 1761. For these reasons O'Callaghan has included neither of the editions in his 'List of Editions of the Holy Scriptures printed in America,' Albany, 1860.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. 1749, pp. 360-2; Hansard's Typographia, 1825; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 62, 72, 73, 74, 289, iii. 708, 718; Lea Wilson's Bibles, Testaments, Psalms, &c., 1845; Cotton's Editions of the Bible in English, 1852; Report from Select Committee of House of Commons on the Queen's Printer's Patent, 1860; Loftie's Century of Bibles, 1872; Eadie's English Bible, 1876, ii. 289; Stevens's Bibles in the Caxton Exhib. 1878; Bigmore and Wyman'a Bibliography of Printing; Brit. Mus. Cat., headings Bibles and Liturgies.]

H. R. T.


BASS, GEORGE (d. 1812?), the discoverer of Bass's Strait, was born at Asworthy, near Sleaford, in Lincolnshire. On the death of his father, who was a farmer, his mother removed to Boston, and after being apprenticed to a surgeon there he obtained his diploma in London, and was appointed surgeon on board H.M.S. Reliance. This vessel being ordered to Sydney in 1795, Bass there found ample opportunity to indulge his passion for exploring. In 1796 he sailed from Port Jackson, in a small whaling-boat, to examine the coast of New South Wales southwards, and having observed, after turning Cape Howe, that there was a strong swell rolling in from the south-west, he inferred the existence of a sea-passage at about the parallel 40° S. Next year Governor King allowed him a sloop of 25 tons, commanded by Lieutenant Flinders, in order to 'project' the coast of Tasmania; and in 1798 Bass not only sailed through the important ocean thoroughfare which has ever since borne his name, but circumnavigated Tasmania, thus first proved to be an island, and explored a considerable part of the coast. Two of the principal islands in Bass's Strait were named by him after Governor King and Lieutenant Flinders respectively. Except that he left Australia in 1799 to return to England, nothing certain is known of Bass's subsequent history. He probably died in South America.

[Flinders's Voyage to Terra Australia, pp. cxvii, cxx, and Observations on Van Dieman's Land; Heaton's Australian Dict. of Dates, 1879.]

R. E. A.


BASS, MICHAEL THOMAS (1799–1884), brewer, was born on 6 July 1799. He was the son of M. T. Bass and grandson of William Bass, both of whom carried on extensive brewing establishments at Burton-on-Trent. Bass was educated first at the grammar school, Burton-on-Trent, and afterwards at Nottingham. On leaving school he joined his father in business and acted as a traveller. The opening up of the Trent and Mersey Canal gave the first great impetus to the trade of the Burton breweries, and the firm of Messrs. Bass did not fail to utilise this and other developments of modern enterprise.

Bass's first official connection with the county of Derby was as an officer in the old Derbyshire yeomanry cavalry, in which capacity he assisted in quelling the local riots which occurred before the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832. He speedily acquired an important position in the county, partly from the extensive ramifications of his business, and partly from the interest he took in public affairs, and in 1848 he was requested to come forward as a candidate for Derby in the liberal interest. The sitting