Does the OED have a date for the english use of martinet?
Answering this question involved discovering that English has (or has had) not one but four martinets!
#1 is ‘A martin; a swift’ or ‘A student at the University of Paris not living in a college’ (1956 J. BRODRICK St Ignatius Loyola viii. 229 Among the Martinets, composed mostly of young fellows who lived by their wits, were to be found not a few elderly men).
#2 is ‘A watermill for an iron forge,’ ‘A type of small cart,’ ‘A type of siege engine used in warfare for bombarding a target with large stones,’ or ‘A type of cat-o’-nine-tails formerly used in French schools’ (1881 P. B. DU CHAILLU Land Midnight Sun II. 262, I saw.. what resembled a policeman’s club, at the end of which was a thick piece of leather, the whole reminding one of a martinet).
#3 is ‘A demon supposed to summon witches to their assemblies.’
But #4 is what we’re interested in:
1. Mil. The system of military drill devised by Martinet. Obs.
1677 W. WYCHERLEY Plain-dealer III. 52 What, d’ye find fault with Martinet?.. ‘tis the best exercise in the World.
2. a. Originally: a person who leads others in military drill. Later: a military or naval officer who is especially concerned with strictness of discipline; (gen.) a rigid, inflexible, or merciless disciplinarian.
1718 J. BREVAL Play is Plot II. i. 24 Machone. Make your Exercise, come—join your Left Hand to your Piece. Peter. ..A brave Martinet! 1737 London Mag. 376/1 Commodus.. was properly what we call, in modern Language, a Martinet. [...] 1812 J. WEST Loyalists 52, I wish.. you could accompany me to see actual service; you would then feel a just contempt for military martinets and parade exercise. [...] 1888 Poor Nellie 300 A true-born martinet never thinks he is at all severe. 1921 L. STRACHEY Queen Victoria i. 8 Under the influence of military training,.. at first a disciplinarian and at last a martinet. [...] 1986 R. THOMAS White Dove vii. 168 The grey, starched martinet in her office lined with bound copies of nursing journals.
b. A person who acts with precision; an automaton. Obs. rare.
1853 E. K. KANE U.S. Grinnell Exped. 254 We had drilled with knapsack and sledge, till we were almost martinets in our evolutions on the ice.
B. adj. (attrib. and appositive). Of an idea or trait: characteristic of a martinet. Of a person: that is a martinet.
1814 SCOTT Waverley III. v. 60 A sort of martinet attention to the minutiæ and technicalities of discipline. [...] 1980 V. S. PRITCHETT Tale Bearers 172 His martinet behaviour with his wife who leaves her clothes on the floor.