Justice Cooley’s memorial on the occasion of Washington’s birthday: “In fabulous history nations are founded by gods. But these gods are only impersonations of the rough virtues most prized in a barbarous age, and their worship is therefore an adoration of those qualities … We have no fabulous history of our nation … Great characters may loom up as the builders, but they are not simply exaggerated personifications of power and force; they are men with human qualities, whose lives, in the records which are preserved, are open to our inspection; we may see what manner of men they were, and if any one has assumed a god-like quality he did not possess and demanded our admiration for achievements he did not win, we are now able to expose the false pretensions and lay bare the attempted deceit.
“To-day is set apart by law as a public holiday in honor of one of these men …”
Cooley, Thomas M. Washington: His Character and the Lessons to be Drawn From It. Ann Arbor: Dr. Chase’s Steam Printing House, 1875.