A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 12, 2012
“Duty is ours; results are God’s” ("Duty is ours, consequences are God’s")

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), an English commentator on the Bible, wrote in An Exposition of All the Books of the Old and New Testaments (1708-1710):

“Good men are more solicitous and desirous to know the duty that is to be done by them, than to know the events that shall be concerning them; for duty is ours, events are God’s.”

“Duty is ours, events are God’s” became popular in the United States in the early 1800s and was borrowed by the anti-slavery movement. “Duty is ours; consequences his” was cited in Slavery in America (1837). “Duty is ours; results are God’s” has been frequently credited on websites to John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), but he didn’t originate the saying and it’s not clear when or where Adams used it. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863) used “Duty is ours; consequences are God’s” as a motto, but the saying had been circulated in print long before the Civil War.


Wikipedia: Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry (18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714) was an English commentator on the Bible and Presbyterian minister.
(...)
Works
Matthew Henry’s well-known six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708–1710) or Complete Commentary, provides an exhaustive verse by verse study of the Bible. covering the whole of the Old Testament, and the Gospels and Acts in the New Testament. After the author’s death, the work was finished (Romans through Revelation) by thirteen other nonconformist ministers, partly based upon notes taken by Henry’s hearers, and edited by George Burder and John Hughes in 1811.

Wikiquote: Stonewall Jackson
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was an American teacher and soldier. He became a famous Confederate general during the American Civil War as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.
(...)
Misattributed
Duty is ours; consequences are God’s.
. Though this was a favorite motto of Jackson, and reported as among his last words, it did not originate with him, and was used by others at least as early as in a speech by abolitionist John Jay (8 October 1856)

Google Books
An Exposition of All the Books of the Old and New Testaments, Volume 1
Edited by Matthew Henry
London: Printed for W. Baynes
1804
Pg. 660, col. 2:
Note, Good men are more solicitous and desirous to know the duty that is to be done by them, than to know the events that shall be concerning them; for duty is ours, events are God’s.

25 October 1812, Salem (MA) Gazette, “Alliance of the U. States with France,” pg. 1, col. 2:
While any naval power triumphs over the commerce of another nation, it is surely to be resisted. Duty is ours, and all events belong to God.

3 February 1816, Essex (MA) Register<, pg. 3, col. 3:
Duty is ours, and all events belong to God.

22 November 1823, Boston (MA) Recorder, “Anecdote,” pg. 188, col. 3:
Duty is ours; and events are God’s.

Google Books
Slavery in America:
With Notices of the Present State of Slavery and the Slave Trade Throughout the World

Conducted by the Rev. Thomas Price
London: Published by D. Wightman
1837
Pg. 64:
My principle is simply this — abandon sin, do duty, and leave results with God. There are no imaginable circumstances in which it can be right or necessary to break the law of God, in order to avoid evil. Duty is ours; consequences his.

Google Books
Letters to Catherine E. Beecher, in Reply to An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism, Addressed to A.E. Grimke
(Angelina Emily Grimké—ed.)
Boston, MA: Printed by Isaac Knapp
1838
Pg. 94:
LETTER X
“THE TENDENCY OF THE AGE TOWARDS EMANCIPATION”
Pg. 97:
Now, if there are any halfhearted Abolitionists, who are thus recreant to the high and holy principle of ‘Duty is ours, and events are God’s,’ then I must leave such to explain their own inconsistencies; but that this is the reason assigned by the Society, as a body, I have never seen nor believed.

Google Books
September 1839, The African Repository, and Colonial Journal, ‘The Obligations of the World to the Bible,” pg. 268:
Duty is ours — events are God’s.

Google Books
18 December 1858, The Church of England Magazine, “The Reformation,” pg. 399, col. 1:
Duty is ours: events are God’s.

Google Books
The Preacher’s Commentary on the Book of Jeremiah
By William Harvey Jellie
London: Richard D. Dickinson
1882
Pg. 573:
(Jeremiah, Chap. XXXVI, Ver. 7—ed.)
Duty is ours, results belong to God.

Google Books
The Book of Military Quotations
Edited by Peter G. Tsouras
St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press
2005
Pg. 144:
Duty is ours; consequences are God’s.
Lieutenant-General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, one of his favourite maxims, quoted in Mary Anne Jackson, Life and Letters of Qeneral Thomas J. Jackson, 1892.

Google Books
A New Day in Mississippi:
The Corruption in Our Government, and What We Can Do About It in 2011

By James Broadwater
Durham, CT: Strategic Book Group
2011
Pg. 187:
John Quincy Adams, our sixth President, said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, November 12, 2012 • Permalink