CUSTOM. A usage which had acquired the force of law. It is, in fact, a lex loci, which regulates all local or real property within its limits. A repugnancy which destroys it, must be such as to show it never did exist. 5 T. R. 414. In Pennsylvania no customs have the force of law but those which prevail throughout the state. 6 Binn. 419, 20.
2. A custom derives its force from the tacit consent of the legislature and the people, and supposes an original, actual deed or agreement. 2 Bl. Com. 30, 31; 1 Chit. Pr. 283. Therefore, custom is the best interpreter of laws: optima est legum interpres consuetudo. Dig. 1, 8, 37; 2 Inst. 18. It follows, therefore, there; can be no custom in relation to a matter regulated by law. 8 M. R. 309. Law cannot be established or abrogated except by the sovereign will, but this will may be express or implied and presumed and whether it manifests itself by word or by a series of facts, is of little importance. When a custom is public, peaceable, uniform, general, continued, reasonable and certain, and has lasted "time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," it acquires the force of law. And when any doubts arise as to the meaning of a statute, the custom which has prevailed on the subject ought to have weight in its construction, for the manner in which a law has always been executed is one of its modes of interpretation. 4 Penn. St. Rep. 13.
3. Customs are general or, particular customs. 1. By general customs is meant the common law itself, by which proceedings and determinations in courts are guided.
2. Particular customs, are those which affect the inhabitants of some particular districts only. 1 Bl. Com. 68, 74. Vide 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 121 Bac. Ab. h. t.; 1 Bl. Com. 76; 2 Bl. Com. 31; 1 Lill. Reg. 516; 7 Vin. Ab. 164; Com. Dig. h. t.; Nelson's Ab. h. t. the various Amer. Digs. h. t. Ayl. Pand. 15, 16; Ayl. Pareg. 194; Doct. Pl. 201; 3 W. C. C. R. 150; 1 Gilp. 486; Pet. C. C. R. 220; I Edw. Ch. R. 146; 1 Gall. R. 443; 3 Watts, R. 178; 1 Rep. Const. Ct. 303, 308; 1 Caines, R. 45; 15 Mass. R. 433; 1 Hill, R. 270; Wright, R. 573; 1 N. & M. 176; 5 Binn. R. 287; 5 Ham. R. 436; 3 Conn. R. 9; 2 Pet. R. 148; 6 Pet. R. 715; 6 Porter R. 123; 2 N. H. Rep. 93; 1 Hall, R. 612; 1 Harr. & Gill, 239; 1 N. S. 192; 4 L. R. 160; 7 L. R. 529; Id. 215.
CUSTOM OF MERCHANTS, lex mercatoria. A system of customs acknowledged and taken notice of by all nations, and are, therefore, a part of the general law of the land. See Law merchant, and 1 Chit. Bl. 76, note 9.
CUSTOM-HOUSE. A place appointed by law, in ports of entry, where importers of goods, wares and merchandise are bound to enter the same, in order to pay or secure the duties or customs due to the government.
CUSTOMARY RIGHTS. Rights which are acquired by custom. They differ from prescriptive rights in this, that the former are local usages, belonging to all the inhabitants of a particular place or district - the latter are rights of individuals, independent of the place of their residence. Best on Pres. 79; Cruise, Dig. t. 31, c. 1, 7; 2 Greenl. Evi 542.
CUSTOMS. This term is usually applied to those taxes which are payable upon goods and merchandise imported or exported. Story, Const. 949; Bac. Ab. Smuggling. CUSTOS ROTULORUM, Eng. law. The principal justice of the peace of a county, who is the keeper of the records of the county. 1 Bl. Com. 349.


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