Charles Masson and Freemasons in Afghanistan 40


Edward Stirling was one of the most intrepid of Afghan explorers and certainly the most ignored by Great Game historians. The motive for his epic journey in disguise is unknown. On retirement, he built a great house named “Stirling Castle” on the Isle of Wight, and incorporate a major Freemasonic Temple inside it, replete with Masonic and oriental themes. Alexander Burnes claimed, in a speech to St Peter’s Lodge in Montrose, to have discovered relics of “ancient Freemasonry” in Afghanistan and is almost certainly the true model for Kipling’s Danny Dravot in The Man Who Would Be King. Could James Lewis/Charles Masson have been telling something in his adopted surname?

Desertion was an extremely serious offence, and to desert on active service, as Lewis did before Bharatpur, carried the death penalty. It was universally held that it was essential that desertion always bring speedy retribution, lest it become infectious in the ranks1. The actions of British officials in turning a blind eye to Lewis’ status as a deserter are almost unprecedented. Indeed, the only way to pardon a deserter was by a grant direct from the King of England himself, and extraordinarily Masson received this signed in person by William IV, the only pardon for desertion granted by that King2. The explanation usually given is that they wished to make use of Masson to gather information from Central Asia. But they already had native agents reporting regularly, and Masson added little of real value. Furthermore, in the exactly contemporary case of Edward Stirling, his career was destroyed for the infinitely lesser sin of returning from leave three weeks late – his explorations of Afghanistan were not thought to compensate for that misdemeanour. It is highly improbable that Masson’s would compensate for his capital offence.

The future treatment of Masson was even more puzzling. In addition to a substantial government salary arranged for him, Burnes, Pottinger, McNeill and Wade all frequently and repeatedly sent him major sums of money, amounting to thousands of pounds, both from government sources and from their own pockets, and the bulk of these payments related more to his antiquarian researches than to any intelligence work. They continued despite his repeated failure to account for any official monies received. When Masson finally was taken into custody in 1841 as a suspected Russian spy, a charge of which he was, as we shall see, almost certainly guilty, he yet again was let off by the British authorities on a second capital offence. The relevant papers had already disappeared from the Lahore archives by 1929. Plainly the British officials had some powerful motive for protecting Masson – were they supporting him and his work in Afghanistan as a fellow freemason? William IV, the King who received both Alex and James in audience and pardoned Masson, was a fervent mason. Was the motive behind Masson’s antiquarian researches displayed in his choice of pseudonym?

[Sikunder Burnes is being edited down fro 260,000 to 180,000 words. Snippets of material I am editing out which strike me as interesting are being posted here. James and ALexander Burnes played a major role in inventing the myths of ancient Freemasonry and both the Alexandrian and the Knights Templar connection. In investigating what they did, I am not endorsing these myths, quite the opposite.]


40 thoughts on “Charles Masson and Freemasons in Afghanistan

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  • Tom Knott

    May I refer you to Turner Macan 1792-1836, and the Presidency of Bengal Grand Lodge, I suspect at Fort William, Calcutta. It was suggested to me that he was Master. The connections of his relations were to the Duke of Wellington, among others. He died in 1836 and a few years later his widow, Harriet born Sneyd, married William Henry Whitbread, whose family was intermarried with the Grey’s of Howick. Turner and Harriet had one daughter who became Countess of Antrim and another who married one of the Grey’s their daughter becoming Countess of Home. Another, Emma Sophia Sneyd married John Russell Colvin (tomb at Agra) and Kipling wrote a poem about their son’s imposition of Income Tax, Auckland Colvin.

  • craig Post author

    Tom,

    Thanks. John Colvin features in my book as Lord Auckland’s Private Secretary when he was Governor-General. A slightly later Governor-General, the Earl of Dalhousie, was also head of worldwide Freemasonry.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    There were a number of posts on the previous thread about the NHS. Moreover, the travails of some NHS hospitals have been hitting the headlines over the last couple of days.

    It has been said that those hospitals’ problems are due to unprecedentedly heavy calls on their Accident and Emergency departments, due to some extent to people experiencing difficulty in getting timely appointments to see their GP.

    I have a couple of questions for this blog’s self-declared experts on the NHS:

    1/.Why is it so difficult for people to get to see their GP in timely fashion?

    2/. Who or what is responsible for this state of affairs?

    3/. What suggestions are there for remedying this state of affairs?

    4/. What connection – if any – do commenters see between this state of affairs and the alleged creeping privatisation of the NHS?

    Thank you.

  • Peacewisher

    @Habby… I never could understand why they closed NHS Direct. Worked well for non-emergencies if you couldn’t get a GP appointment that day (often the case…)

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Peacewisher

    “@Habby… I never could understand why they closed NHS Direct. Worked well for non-emergencies if you couldn’t get a GP appointment that day (often the case…)”
    ________________

    “that day”???

    I’m told that it usually takes several days before you can see a GP.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Mary – can you please confirm that?

  • giyane

    Craig, you might hate theological man-written laws but the proto-Zionists, forebears of those who rule us today were obsessed with their lost tribes including the Pashtuns of Afghanistan. They were lost because they had been driven out of Jerusalem for their deviation in the first destruction of the Temple of Solomon.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/17/israel-lost-tribes-pashtun

    Thank you for the information that the Burneses were inventing Masonic emblemania and thus spreading darkness and disinformation. Obviously, with the Pashtuns, after Islam all connection with the past deviations were broken. New entrants to the religion usually have a clearer vision than the habits of the installed regime.

    The fogs of false ritual, like the celebration of the prophet’s birthday SAW in the last few days were sown by the British after they massacred the Indian scholars who stood up to them. Then after separating the Muslims from their Qur’anic roots, the middle-Zionists infected modern Islam with the doctrine of violence and Takfirism through the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi regime.

    Forward planning. Common sense will prevail eventually when the combined disgrace of the Saudi and MB campaign in Syria is revealed as a Zionist land-grab. The trouble with mercenaries/munafiqs/political Islam is they really really really really don’t like it up ’em.

  • giyane

    Habbaceous bordering on IDF terrorist.

    Can you inform me please what the benefit of ‘seeing’ a GP is?
    I see mine from time to time and derive zero benefit from ‘seeing’ him because he is useless at doing anything except collecting his salary.

    When I go to A & E it takes only a few minutes conversation to get to the bottom of the problem. Worth 4 hours wait of anybody’s time. This quack government diverted a third of A & E resources to GP and routine services because they wanted people to attend daycare instead of emergency services.

    GPs are brilliant at taking money, but it’s the dedicated teams of emergency units that get things done. Tory softening up the GPs for privatisation. Bribability should not be confused for ability to get things done.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Giyane

    So you are saying that the problem is with the GPs.

    That is rather in line with what I suspect.

    Would it be fair to say, therefore, that the alleged “creeping privatisation” of OUR NHS is not to blame for that situation?

  • CanSpeccy

    Reverting to the topic for a moment, it seems obvious to me that this Stirling/Masson person was not hanged (twice) because he was a member of the same government-linked pedophile abuse network that controls Westminster today. Surely no other explanation is remotely plausible?

  • oddie

    off topic, but want to post this. pity it will fall on april fool’s day!

    AP: UN chief says Palestine will join int’l court on April 1
    General Ban Ki-moon said late Tuesday that the state of Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, a high-stakes move that will enable the Palestinians to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel…
    He said he was “acting in his capacity as depositary” for the documents of ratification…
    But in Monday’s press release, the court stressed that accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC “does not automatically trigger an investigation.” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda must determine whether the criteria under the statute for opening an investigation have been met, it said.
    The secretary-general also approved Palestinian documents joining 16 other international treaties, conventions and agreements on Tuesday night.
    http://news.yahoo.com/un-chief-says-palestine-join-intl-court-april-025028890.html

    sounds simple, but…

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Giyane (re GPs and OUR NHS):

    “As you know that is the opposite of what I was saying.”
    _______________

    If that’s the case, you have a very peculiar way of saying it.

    Does the root of the current A & E problem lie with the GPs or not?

  • Mary

    Video and transcript
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12955

    UN Finds 3,000 Civilians Killed in Afghanistan in 2014

    Sonali Kolhatkar, co-author of the book, Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence says the new President in Afghanistans’ approach to governing depends on US protection of his presidency – January 6, 15

    She is a founding Director of the US-based solidarity organization, Afghan Women’s Mission, which raises funds for social and political women-led projects in Afghanistan. She is also the host and Executive Producer of Uprising, heard on KPFK Pacifica Radio.

  • craig Post author

    Canspeccy

    The causes of impunity can be fascinating. Charles Masson was James Lewis, Edward Stirling was someone else. Sorry if that’s not clear.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Hmmmm. Think there may be more than a little jumping to conclusions there…

    Monograph on Masson: http://www.bijanomrani.com/?p=masson

    1842 saw Masson’s final return to London and the publication of his travel memoirs,A Narrative of various journeys in Baluchistan, Afghanistan and the Punjab includinga residence in those countries from 1826 to 1838, by the publisher Richard Bentley.The more prestigious John Murray refused him on account of his attacks on the IndianGovernment, and perhaps also because of his accusations against Alexander Burnes,who was himself one of Murray’s authors.

    Aha. Masonic conspiracy or Murray family grudge?

    😀

  • nevermind

    The noblesse noblige was always keen to attire themselves and surround their life’s with mysticism. That this involved using the tools of artisans, such as protractor, plumb and dividers means only that they recognised the superior building techniques that had arrived from our ancients, via stonemasons.

    They travelled around the whole world and with by living a gypsy lifestyle, their knowledge was shared amongst many, a little bit like open source software today is free and shared.

    I found that cutting text down is always harder than adding words and one tends to rewrite what’s left, to suit. Have fun….

  • craig Post author

    Baal Zevul

    You rather miss the point that I am working from original manuscript research, and discovering that a lot of the published sources are very wrong about a lot of things!

    And no, I am not related to John Murray 🙂

  • Ba'al Zevul

    You rather miss the point that I am working from original manuscript research, and discovering that a lot of the published sources are very wrong about a lot of things!

    Unpublished sources are not ipso facto authoritative. It might even be argued that the published, ‘accepted’ version of an event has stood the test of academic scrutiny and represents a more representative consensus of informed opinion. Historical research is one thing, but how you draw your conclusions is quite another. It seems to me.

    Wish you’d lay off the Masons, though. I’m assuming the Masons didn’t have a hand in your working for the FCO. They didn’t help a lot of the Masons I’ve met either…a sewing-machine mechanic, a driving-instructor, a gamekeeper, a crofter, more than one publican, a technical college instructor….who would help anyone and didn’t join for any discernible base motives. There are rich Masons. Wow. There are rich Muslims, Jews and, counter to their expressed doctrines, Christians and Buddhists, too. There are rich alumni of UEA, even (not many, I think, but some). Sean Connery is a rich ex-milkman. What rich people have in common is money and rich contacts. They don’t need the Masons to get hold of those. And the undeniab;e fact that it helps to be corrupt and greedy to get rich doesn’t make the Masons in general any more likely to be either.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Baal Zevul in reply to Craig Murray:

    CM :”You rather miss the point that I am working from original manuscript research, and discovering that a lot of the published sources are very wrong about a lot of things!”

    BZ : “Unpublished sources are not ipso facto authoritative. It might even be argued that the published, ‘accepted’ version of an event has stood the test of academic scrutiny and represents a more representative consensus of informed opinion.”
    ___________________

    The “ipso facto” is of course BZ’s get-out.

    It could be argued that they ARE in fact more authoritative precisely because they more trustworthy since they are not written with a view to publication and therefore intended either to justify the writer’s thoughts and actions before the bar of public opinion and historians. They could be held to have a certain “innocence” or “disinterestedness”, could they not?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BZ : “Historical research is one thing, but how you draw your conclusions is quite another.”

    _______________________

    Of course – but that is a different argument from the first.

  • Pete

    @Giyanne:

    I very rarely comment on this blog, but your comment caught my attention due to its exceptional incoherence. What kind of a fantasy world do you inhabit, really?

    “Pashtuns of Afghanistan.. were lost because they had been driven out of Jerusalem for their deviation in the first destruction of the Temple of Solomon”.

    Firstly, the Pashtuns are not a “lost tribe of Israel” and nor is anyone else, because there are no “LOst Tribes”. The elite of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were deported by the Assyrians to various places where they lost their distinctive religion (on which they only had a tenuous grip anyway)and were absorbed into the general population of the Empire. The peasantry remained in place in Palestine, they became the Samaritans of New Testament times, later most of the them were converted to Christianity and later still to Islam- they are the Palestinians of today, whose ancestors have lived there in unbroken continuity for 40,000 years since the land was first inhabited by humans.

    Secondly, there was no destruction of Solomon’s temple because Solomon did not exist therefore his temple did not exist either. The earlier parts of the Books of Kings and Chronicles are fictional, just as the earlier sections of our own “History of the Kings of Britain” is fiction- or at least so garbled and distorted that it may as well be fiction. Jerusalem was a village at the time when David and Solomon were alleged to be ruling over the great Canaanite cities around there.

    “New entrants to the religion usually have a clearer vision than the habits of the installed regime.”

    Clearer vision of what?

    “The fogs of false ritual, like the celebration of the prophet’s birthday SAW in the last few days were sown by the British after they massacred the Indian scholars who stood up to them.”

    Firstly, are you seriously claiming that the governing authorities of the British Empire in India managed to recreate the entire Muslim religion, bearing in mind that most Muslims even then were not under British rule?

    Secondly, can you give examples of the Indian scholars whom you claim were systematically massacred by the British?

    Thirdly, as regards the main Indian religion Hinduism it was British researchers who actually made the Hindu scriptures available to ordinary Indian public for the first time, when for 1000s of years they had been available only in a dead language, kept that way by the priests, just as in Europe the Catholic priests kept the Bible in Latin for centuries to prevent the common people understanding the bassi of their own religion.

    “Then after separating the Muslims from their Qur’anic roots,”

    Are you seriously claiming that the British suppressed the Quran? Where is your evidence for this? Did the British authorities in India ever burn the Quran or suppress madrassas?

    “the middle-Zionists”

    What are they?

    “infected modern Islam with the doctrine of violence and Takfirism through the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi regime.”

    Agreed that the foul Saudi regime plays the leading role in disseminating the most intolerant anti-cultural misogynistic and aggressive interpretation of Islam throughout the world. But they didn’t invent this version of Islam. Are you seriously claiming that Islam was originally a non-violent religion? Have you not heard of the Riddah Wars or the Battle of the Trench, fought by the first Caliph and the Prophet himself in the earliest and purest days of Islam?

  • Dave

    [email protected]

    “4 What connection – if any – do commenters see between this state of affairs and the alleged creeping privatisation of the NHS?”

    Creeping privatisation of the NHS has been occurring for many years by mostly American medical Mafia company’s and we the British taxpayer have been ripped off for years by paying over the odds for equipment and services to the tune of £ Billions.I will give you one example out of many.
    A computerised urine sample analyser costing £80,000 overpriced but never mind that. To buy a 15 metre RS232 computer cable to connect the analyser from the same Mafia company to connect to the NHS pathology computer £15000. At the time that type of computer cable off the the shelf would normally cost £10 to £12. I rest my case. I could give more examples but I wont.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The real sleaze is to be found in the Lords.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/andrew-robertson/should-peers-be-able-to-vote-on-health-reforms-that-affect-their-financial-i

    Currently the government has no intention to reform the rules that govern their own working life. In response to a petition placed on the No10 website that demanded “No member of Parliament may speak or vote in a debate on legislation which could financially benefit any commercial operation in which they have a financial interest”, they replied that it would “not be practical” to introduce any curbs to such behaviour because a “significant number of legislative provisions in any year may have beneficial financial implications for all or most commercial operations.”

    Exactly!

    Just so.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Dave

    ““4 What connection – if any – do commenters see between this state of affairs and the alleged creeping privatisation of the NHS?”

    Creeping privatisation of the NHS has been occurring for many years by mostly American medical Mafia company’s and we the British taxpayer have been ripped off for years by paying over the odds for equipment and services to the tune of £ Billions.I will give you one example out of many.
    A computerised urine sample analyser costing £80,000 overpriced but never mind that. To buy a 15 metre RS232 computer cable to connect the analyser from the same Mafia company to connect to the NHS pathology computer £15000. At the time that type of computer cable off the the shelf would normally cost £10 to £12. I rest my case. I could give more examples but I wont.”
    __________________

    The example you give illustrates gross over-charging on the one hand (that of the company)and inadequate cost control on the other (by the NHS).

    What it does not do, however, is the answer my question.

    What is the connection between the example you give (and I believe you when you say you could give others) and “this state of affairs” (by which I was referring to the current problems in the A &E departments of several (many?) UK NHS hospitals brought about – acccording to many – by the apparently defective functioning of the NHS on the level of frontline GPs?

  • fool

    Does the mysterious Alexander Malcolm Jacob (aka Lurgan Sahib in Kippling’s Kim & as Mr Issacs in Marion Crawford’s novel of that name) get a mention in your book?

  • CanSpeccy

    @ CM:

    Charles Masson was James Lewis, Edward Stirling was someone else. Sorry if that’s not clear.

    No it’s not unclear, just my misreading of a post that has elicited several interesting comments. Let’s have more history posts!

  • Hatman

    Where on the Isle of Wight is/was the house called Stirling Castle? I can find no reference to it.

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