The English words "The pen is mightier than the sword" were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.
Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII, discovers a plot to kill him, but as a priest he is unable to take up arms against his enemies.
His page, Francois, points out: But now, at your command are other weapons, my good Lord.
Richelieu agrees: The pen is mightier than the sword... Take away the sword; States can be saved without it!
The saying quickly gained currency, says Susan Ratcliffe, associate editor of the Oxford Quotations Dictionaries. "By the 1840s it was a commonplace."
Today it is used in many languages, mostly translated from the English. The French version is: "La plume est plus forte que l'epee."