Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu (16891755)
If I knew something useful to me and harmful to my family, I should put it out of my mind. If I knew something useful to my family and not to my country, I should try to forget it. If I knew something useful to my country and harmful to Europe, or useful to Europe and harmful to the human race, I should consider it a crime.
MONTESQUIEU.Robert John Loy, Montesquieu, chapter 3, p. 122 (1968).
Before giving this translation, Loy says, Montesquieu was so fond of the passage that he composed it in several forms; it stands as his philosophical emblem. For the original French, see Montesquieu, Oeuvres Completes, p. 981 (1949).