Here you go, from my post to AT in 2006 -
"The earliest I know of is 1582, in a book by Jean Gosselin. Michael Hurst gives my translation of the relevant part at his site.
The order is:
The reasoning is this (which I quote from Michael's site because I wrote most of it) -
"A book by Gosselin (La Signification de l’ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique
) associates the four suits with the four elements, in a 52-card French-suited deck. (One Tarot author noted that the term “Pythagorean” in the title is an example of the inflated manner in which the label was used at the time. It was slapped on to anything concerned with numbers to add a false patina of age and wisdom, and cards had numbers.) Franco Pratesi summarized the attributions as follows:
“Firstly, it will be seen, that in a common pack of cards there are four types of characters: which are Tiles, Clovers, Hearts and Pikes. These show us the four Elements, of which all natural things are composed…
— The Tiles, [Diamonds] which are depicted on the cards, signify the earth: for just as the earth sustains all heavy things, so the tiles are used to bear the heavy things placed on top of them.
— The Clovers, [Clubs] which are depicted on the cards, represent water: for the reason that the clover is an herb that flourishes in moist places, and is nourished by means of the water that makes it grow.
— The Hearts, which are depicted on the cards, signifies to us air: since our hearts could not live without air.
— The Pikes, [Spades] which are depicted on the cards, represents to us fire: for just as fire is the most penetrating of the Elements, so the Pikes are very penetrating weapons of war; and with each of the above-said characters are marked thirteen cards in a deck, which gives the sum of fifty-two cards.”
(From a TarotL post by Ross Caldwell; quoted from Franco Pratesi in Jean-Marie Lhôte, Dictionnaire des jeux de Société
, note 18 page 652.)http://www.geocities.com/cartedatri.../1540-1739.html
, s.v. 1582"