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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1286
AUTHOR: Daniel Webster (1782–1852)
QUOTATION: When the mariner has been tossed for many days in thick weather, and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence, and, before we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are.
ATTRIBUTION: Senator DANIEL WEBSTER, second speech on Foote’s resolution, delivered in the Senate, January 26, 1830.—The Works of Daniel Webster, 10th ed., vol. 3, p. 270 (1857).

His opening remarks on the sixth day of debate.