authority or agency that is responsible for tariff collection and control of movement of goods

Customs (archaically known as usages) also known as mores, conventions, and norms, are a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted social rules, standards or criteria established by common practice and socially enforced. These include the observance of traditions, and customary laws recognized by courts.

Depraved custom is just a kind of general pestilence in which men perish not the less that they fall in a crowd. ~ John Calvin
The king ... like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts, and lives just as his father did; the unconquered powers of precedent and custom interpose between a king and virtue. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley


  • Woe unto you, O torrent of human custom! Who shall stay your course? When will you ever run dry? How long will you carry down the sons of Eve into that vast and hideous ocean.
  • To make everything yield to custom would be to do the greatest injustice. Were the judgments of mankind correct, custom would be regulated by the good. But it is often far otherwise in point of fact; for, whatever the many are seen to do, forthwith obtains the force of custom. But human affairs have scarcely ever been so happily constituted as that the better course pleased the greater number. Hence the private vices of the multitude have generally resulted in public error.
  • There is no greater tyranny than that of social custom.
  • People try to excuse their brutality by saying that it is the custom; but a crime does not cease to be a crime because many commit it. Karma takes no account of custom; and the karma of cruelty is the most terrible of all. In India at least there can be no excuse for such customs, for the duty of harmlessness is well-known to all. The fate of the cruel must fall also upon all who go out intentionally to kill God's creatures, and call it "sport".
  • The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement, being in unceasing antagonism to that disposition to aim at something better than customary.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 154-55.
  • Consuetudo est secunda natura.
  • Vetus consuetudo natunæ vim obtinet.
    • An ancient custom obtains force of nature.
    • Cicero, De Inventione.
  • Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
    To rev'rence what is ancient, and can plead
    A course of long observance for its use,
    That even servitude, the worst of ills,
    Because deliver'd down from sire to son,
    Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing!
  • The slaves of custom and established mode,
    With pack-horse constancy we keep the road
    Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
    True to the jingling of our leader's bells.
  • Man yields to custom, as he bows to fate,
    In all things ruled—mind, body, and estate;
    In pain, in sickness, we for cure apply
    To them we know not, and we know not why.
  • Che l'uso dei mortali è come fronda.
    In ramo, che sen va, ed altra viene.
    • The customs and fashions of men change like leaves on the bough, some of which go and others come.
    • Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, XXVI. 137.
  • Great things astonish us, and small dishearten us. Custom makes both familiar.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, The Characters or Manners of the Present Age (1688), Volume II, Chapter I. On Judgments.
  • Consuetudo pro lege servatur.
    • Custom is held to be as a law.
    • Law Maxim.
  • Optimus legum interpres consuetudo.
    • Custom is the best interpreter of laws.
    • Law Maxim.
  • Vetustas pro lege semper habetur.
    • Ancient custom is always held or regarded as law.
    • Law Maxim.
  • The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.
  • Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be. Custom will render it easy and agreeable.
  • Nicht fremder Brauch gedeiht in einem Lande.
  • Ein tiefer Sinn wohnt in den alten Bräuchen.
  • Custom calls me to 't:
    What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
    The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
    And mountainous error be too highly heap't
    For truth to o'erpeer.
  • But to my mind, though I am native here,
    And to the manner born, it is a custom
    More honor'd in the breach than the observance.
  • That monster, custom, * * * is angel yet in this,
    That to the use of actions fair and good
    He likewise gives a frock or livery,
    That aptly is put on.
  • The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
    Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
    My thrice-driven bed of down.
  • The king ...
    like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts, and lives
    Just as his father did; the unconquered powers
    Of precedent and custom interpose
    Between a king and virtue.
  • 'Tis nothing when you are used to it.
  • The old order changeth, yielding place to new;
    And God fulfils himself in many ways,
    Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
    • Alfred Tennyson, Passing of Arthur, line 408. First line also in Coming of Arthur, line 508.
Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 242-244.
  • No degree of antiquity can give sanction to a usage bad in itself.
    • Lord Mansfield, Case of John Money and others (1765), 19 How. St. Tr. 1027.
  • Rights of every kind, which stand upon the foot of usage, gradually receive new strength in point of light and evidence from the continuance of that usage; as it implieth the tacit consent and approbation of every successive age, in which the usage hath prevailed. But when the prerogative hath not only this tacit approbation of all ages, the present as well as the former on its side, but is recognised, or evidently presupposed, by many Acts of Parliament, I see no legal objection that can be made to it.
    • Foster, J., Case of Alexander Broadfoot (1742), Foster's Rep. 179.
  • Private customs, indeed, are still to be sought from private tradition.
    • Camden, J., Case of Seizure of Papers (1765), 19 How. St. Tr. 1068.
  • Proof of the usage of a large capital such as London, is sufficient to show that of the whole world unless it is contradicted.
    • Kekeuoich, J., Williams v. Colonial Bank (1887), L. R. 36 C. D. 670.
  • The custom of the city of London is a matter of fact.
  • We shall go according to the constant usage within memory.
    • Jefferies, C.J., Sacheverell's Case (1684), 10 How. St. Tr. 72.
  • You say it was in the Saxons' time; you do not come to any time within 600 years; you speak of those times wherein things were obscure.
    • Lord Bridgman, C.B., Scot's Case (1660), 5 How. St. Tr. 1066.
  • In many cases a party undertakes to prove a custom from the time of legal memory, the reign of Richard the Second; but that proof is generally established by evidence of acts done at a much later period, and frequently no evidence is given beyond the present century.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., Withnell v. Gartham (1795), 6 T. R. 397.
  • There can be very few cases, where a custom has been sufficiently proved, in which a Court could hold that it was unreasonable, for that it must be convenient is shown by the fact that it has been established and followed.
    • Channell, J., Moult v. Halliday (1897), L. R. 1 Q. B. D. 130.
  • I cannot draw a distinction as to what length of time will render a practice legal.
    • Dallas, C.J., Butt v. Conant (1828), Gow's Rep. 95.
  • I know not how or where to ascertain when an usage becomes of age.
    • Dallas, C.J., Keyser v. Suse (1828), Gow's Rep. 65.
  • As usage is a good interpreter of the laws, so non-usage, where there is no example, is a great intendment that the law will not bear it.
    • Lord Littleton, Section 180, Co. Litt, p. 31.
  • Time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.
    • Black's Commentaries, Book 1,. sec 3, p. 15.
  • If the custom be general, it is the law of the realm: if local only, it is lex loci, the law of the place. Now, all laws are general, as far as the law extends; and all customs of England are of course, immemorial.1 No usage, therefore, can be part of that law, or have the force of a custom, that is not immemorial.
    • Joseph Yates, J., dissenting in Millar v. Taylor (1769), 4 Burr. Part IV., 2368.
  • Whatever may be the effect of the prevailing fashions of the times, I do not think that the argument of inconvenience, arising out of those fashions, can at any time be relied upon against a current of decisions.
    • Lord Eldon, C.J., Beard v. Webb (1800), Bos. & Pull. Rep. 109.
  • All customs must be supposed to have had a good commencement, unless they appear to be inconsistent or against reason.
    • Per Cur., Burton v. Wileday (1737), Andrews' Rep. 39.
  • Customs which are consistent may be pleaded against each other.
    • Buller, J., Ball v. Herbert (1789), 3 T. R. 264.
  • Modus et conventio vineunt legem: Custom and agreement overrule law.
    • 2 Co. 73.
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