2

From my own independent research into the origin of the terms, "white" and "race", and specifically the terms "white race" or "white races" as applied to natural persons, the earliest primary source that I have been able to locate so far is in An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races by Arthur de Gobineau (1853-1855)

The white races are, further, distinguished by an extraordinary attachment to life. They know better how to use it, and so, as it would seem, set a greater price on it; both in their own persons and those of others, they are more sparing of life. When they are cruel, they are conscious of their cruelty; it is very doubtful whether such a consciousness exists in the negro. At the same time, they have discovered reasons why they should surrender this busy life of theirs, that is so precious to them. The principal motive is honour, which under various names has played an enormous part in the ideas of the race from the beginning. I need hardly add that the word honour, together with all the civilizing influences connoted by it, is unknown to both the yellow and the black man… It would not have been all gain. The superiority of the white race would have been clearly shown, but it would have been bought at the price of certain advantages which have followed the mixture of blood.

Citing primary sources, what is the first documented date and attribution for the term "white race" and/or "white races" as applied to one or more natural person?

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    Do you want the phrase "white race" or anything to do with the color "white" in a racial context? Not sure why you're bringing in the phrase "white-woman". – TRomano Feb 20 at 18:05
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    As for attestation, see #2: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attestation – TRomano Feb 20 at 18:08
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    Why are you telling me about it having been discredited?? I am citing a text where the phrase you asked about is used. – TRomano Feb 20 at 18:21
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    No, I will not post as an answer, as I do not know if these are the earliest attestations to be found. They're just what I've been able to find in the first few moments. – TRomano Feb 20 at 18:23
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    "Mod squad", a blast from the past. – TRomano Feb 20 at 18:27
7

The earliest use of 'white race(s)' I found, after only the 1655 poetic mention of a metaphorical contest ("race") as "chastities white race", was this from The Present State of the Republick of Letters, v. 14 (Jul.-Dec. 1734), p. 65:

  In Reply to this Pretence, Father Malsert tells us it is well known that the Children of Noah were white: that the Descendents of Japhet inhabited the Islands in the Mediterranean, the Northern Part of Asia, and all Europe: that the Posterity of Sem possess'd great Part of Asia, as far as the River Cophen in India; and that the Race of Cham settled in Palestine, Egypt, and the Coast of Africa, now call'd Barbary, and formerly Lymbia, Numida, and Mauritania; all of which people are of the white Race.

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    The 1734 citation appears to be exactly on point. I note that it appears in the July issue of The Present State of the Republick of Letters as part of a discussion of the (presumably contemporaneously written) book, An Enquiry into the Origin of the Negros and the Americans, by a French author, "Father Augustus Malsert, of the Order of Charity." I get the impression that persons seeking early expressions of white supremacist thought dressed in biblical and natural-law theory might find this book of interest. It is unclear, however, whether Malsert's book was ever translated into English. – Sven Yargs Feb 21 at 5:37
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    The lineage descends through the next two appearances of the phrase, in the 1735 A voyage to Guinea, Brasil, and the West-Indies, "'tho it be a little Heterodox, I am persuaded the black and white Race have, ab origine, sprung from different colored first Parents", and next in the 1765 The administration of the colonies, "three sons to Noah. These three species, or race, are--The white race--the red--the black." – JEL Feb 21 at 5:46
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    @SvenYargs, I didn't find Malsert's work in English or French, even in WorldCat. – JEL Feb 21 at 5:48
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    I found what may be Malsert's piece, under the title "Dissertation sur l'Origine des Negres" (no date). It is just 24 pages long, which would help explain why it doesn't show up in WorldCat. The typography fits a 1733 publication date, and the text has much to say on the supposed origins of "les Noirs" and "les Blancs." – Sven Yargs Feb 21 at 6:43
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    @SvenYargs It's Article 88 in Memoires pour L'Histoire des Sciences et des Beaux Arts. See page 1941, "de la race des Blancs" and surrounding. – JEL Feb 21 at 8:14

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