§ Lord Erskine
said, he had last session moved for returns of the names of persons arrested and held to bail for libel, before trial; some of those returns had been made, but the whole had not yet been presented. It was his intention to follow up these returns by a motion or bill, if no proposition on the subject should be brought forward by a noble earl (Grey) who had already called the attention of their lordships to the subject. With regard to the object for which the returns were moved, he believed that it was now to be understood that arrest before trial for libel was the practice of some inferior magistrates. The law, however, ought not to be allowed to remain in a state of uncertainty on this point. It was not his wish to encourage any licentiousness of the press, but it appeared to him necessary to remove all doubt on this question. He should not, however, trouble their lordships with any proposition on the subject, until the noble earl to whom be had alluded came to town.