THOMAS BASIN (1412-1491), bishop of Lisieux and historian, was born probably at Caudebec in Normandy, but owing to the devastation caused by the Hundred Years' War, his childhood was mainly spent in moving from one place to another. In 1424 he went to the university of Paris, where he became a master of arts in 1429, and afterwards studied law at Louvain and Pavia. He attended the council of Ferrara, and was soon made canon of the church at Rouen, professor of canon law in the new university of Caen and vicar-general for the bishop of Bayeux. In 1447 he became bishop of Lisieux. He was much involved in the wars between the English and French and was employed by Charles VII. of France, and by his successor Louis XI., at whose request Basin drew up a memorandum setting forth the misery of the people and suggesting measures for alleviating their condition. In 1464 the bishop joined the league of the Public Weal, and fell into disfavour with the king, who seized the temporalities of his see. After exile in various places Basin proceeded to Rome and renounced his bishopric. At this time (1474) Pope Sixtus IV. bestowed upon him the title of archbishop of Caesarea. Occupied with his writings Basin then passed some years at Trier, and afterwards transferred his residence to Utrecht, where he died on the 3rd of December 1491. He was buried in the church of St John, Utrecht.
Basin's principal work is his Historiae de rebus a Carob VII. et Ludovico XI. Francorum regibus eorumque in tempore in Gallia gestis. This is of considerable historical value, but is marred to some extent by the author's dislike for Louis XI. At one time it was regarded as the work of a priest of Liege, named Amelgard, but it is now practically certain that Basin was the writer. He also wrote a suggestion for reform in the administration of justice entitled Libellus de optimo ordine forenses lites audiendi et deferendi; an Apologia, written to answer the charges brought against him by Louis XI.; a Breviloquium, or allegorical account of his own misfortunes; a Peregrinatio; a defence of Joan of Arc entitled Opinio et consilium super processu et condemnatione Johanne, dicte Puelle, and other miscellaneous writings. He wrote in French, Advis de Monseigneur de Lysieux au roi (Paris, 1677).
See the edition of the Historiae, by J. E. J. Quicherat (Paris, 1855-1859); also G. du F. de Beaucourt, Charles VII et Louis XI d'apres Thomas Basin (Paris, 1858).
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