By 1901, the pernicious Leopoldian system had spread beyond the Congo Free State into the French Congo resulting in disputes between Leopold and the French government. Morel took advantage, using the conflict as justification to question Leopold’s right to own the Congo.
In May, 1902, Morel delivered a speech at a meeting in the House of Aborigines, an international human rights organization, where resolutions were passed stating that the provisions of the Berlin Act, “as regards to the protection of native populations,” had been violated “by proceedings ruinous to those native populations.” The consensus between Morel and the House of Aborigines brought about an alliance that would continue throughout Morel’s campaign.
He wrote many articles for journals such as the Contemporary Review and West Africa, setting forth his views regarding free trade, native rights, and forced labor. These articles attracted the attention of high officials in the Foreign Office, and marked the beginning of Morel’s leadership in his effort to correct the abuses in the Congo.
“That the Government of the Congo Free State , having, at its inception, guaranteed to the Powers that its native subjects should be governed with humanity, and that no trading monopoly or privilege should be permitted within its dominions, this House requests His Majesty’s Government to confer with the other Powers signatory to the Berlin General Act, by virtue of which the Congo Free State exists, in order that measures may be adopted to abate the evils prevalent in that State.”
-E.D. Morel, Proposed Resolution, The Man and His Work