Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive

The Baptist Missionary Magazine (Boston, MA, USA)


The Baptist Missionary Magazine was founded as The Massachussetts Baptist Missionary Magazine in 1803 by the Baptist Missionary Society of Massachusetts. One of America's oldest Baptist periodicals, it circulated overseas missionary intelligence, the journals of missionaries in the field, and accounts of revivals. A monthly from 1825, it changed its name to The American Baptist Magazine and Missionary Intelligence in 1817, The American Baptist Magazine in 1825, The Baptist Missionary Magazine in 1836, The Missionary Magazine in 1850, The Baptist Missionary Magazine in 1873, and Missions in 1910. It is currently published quarterly as American Baptists in Mission by American Baptist Churches USA.

Although the American Baptist Union had established a missionary station at Stanley Pool in the Congo Free State in 1886, its director, George Grenfell, had been reluctant to publicly criticize the regime for its systematic human rights violations, presumably fearing the consequences for his mission. Even after George Washington Williams's 'Open letter to King Leopold II' (1890) revealed the scale of atrocities, The Baptist Missionary Magazine continued to support the colony and its administration. Only after the scandal began to gather momentum after 1895 in the wake of reports by missionaries E.V. Sjöblom and William Henry Sheppard, and, in particular, the founding of the Congo Reform Association by Edmund Morel, did the magazine add its voice to the international chorus of condemnation of the Congo Free State.

Conrad originally wrote the letter to the British consul Roger Casement, campaigner and author of Report on the Administration of the Congo Free State (1904). Responding to Casement's request for help, Conrad ended the letter: 'Once more my best wishes go with you on your crusade. Of course You may make any use you like of what I write to you' (CL 3:97). The text printed by The Baptist Missionary Magazine was likely excerpted from one of Morel's pamphlets.

Davies, Laurence, et al., ed. The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983-2008. 9 vols.
Fackler Mark P., and Charles H. Lippy. Popular Religious Magazines of the United States Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.
Franklin, John Hope. George Washington Williams: A Biography. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.
Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. London: Macmillan, 1998.
Jonas, William Glenn, Jr. The Baptist River: Essays on Many Tributaries of a Diverse Tradition. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2006.
Lagergren, David. Mission and State in the Congo: A Study of the Relations between Protestant Missions and the Congo Free State Authorities, 1885-1903. Uppsala, 1970.
'Terrible Atrocities Committed in the Upper Congo Described'. The New York Times 14 May 1897.

The full text of The Baptist Missionary Magazine for 1863 is available from Google Books. Click here.