There is a quasi-mythical attribution of the term to Edmund Burke, which Jeffrey Archer summed up in his novel, The Fourth Estate:
In May 1789, Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the Estate General. The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'