This French mystic and author was the founder of the infamous sect 'the martinistes', and his name is one of the most recognised in mysticism. St Martin was born into considerable wealth, he went on to read at the College de Pentlevoy, where his interest in mystical books grew. He chose a career in the army, although he quickly lost interest in the regimented lifestyle and resigned in 1771.
He was determined to dedicate his life to his spiritual interests, and set about writing his first book. 'Des Erreurs at de la Verite, ou les Hommes rappeles au Principe de la Science' was published in 1775. St Martin travelled much of Europe, and he spent some time in Rome studying with Prince Galitzin. When he returned to Paris he found things very different, and when the revolution broke out in 1787 he was arrested.
Thanks to his association with the freemasons he was soon released. By this time, St Martin had accumulated a large following, and the coming years saw him publish two more books, including ''ettres a un Ami, ou Considerations politiques, philosophies et religieuses sur la Revolution'. He remained unmarried, although he fascinated women and there were rumours of a scandalous love life.