A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Precognition, n. Also: prae-. [Cf. e.m.E. (1611) foreknowledge, late L. præcognitio, also MF précognition.] In Scots legal use: A preliminary examination of possible witnesses and informants, esp. in criminal cases, in advance of the trial proper, to ascertain the evidence that is available and that there is a case to answer.
Having first gotten a warrand home for a precognition, alledging the said slaughter to have bin committed in their own defence; Gordon Geneal. Hist. 480.
Whereas if he had been prisoner here in Scotland he … would have craved … that precognition might have been taken by them to whom the preparing … of that affair was recommended; 1661 Wodrow Hist. (1828) I 133/2.
And that by the law and practice of this kingdom … the petitioner ought upon his desire to have a precognition for taking the deposition of certain persons; Ib.
1661 Acts VII 22/2.
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 9.
The diet is deserted upon a warrand frae the privy councill, bearing that they had taken a precognition in this matter by examination of witnesses, and found that the slaughter was accidentally committed [etc.]; 1666 Justiciary Ct. Rec. I 139.
1667 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II 656.
The council cognoscs likewise upon crimes by way of precognition [etc.]; Mackenzie Laws & C. ii vi 5 (1678) 380.
At privy councell a præcognition was taken for preparing a dittay, by ane assise of error, against James Baird … .This was a strange tryall, contrare to the nature of all other præcognitions tane at privy councell, wher they ware ever designed in the pannells favors for mitigation; 1681 Lauder Notices Affairs I 298.
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"Precognition n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2019 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/precognition>
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