At this early period he seems already to have adopted in some degree the plan of study he followed in after life and recommended in his Essai sur l'etude - that is, of letting his subject rather than his author determine his course, of suspending the perusal of a book to reflect, and to compare the statements with those of other authors - so that he often read portions of many volumes while mastering one.
They pick up superficial acquirements with astonishing ease, but seem to be incapable of mastering any subject.
To remedy this, Murat and other general officers as well as minor agents were sent ahead and instructed to travel through South Germany in plain clothes with a view to collecting information and mastering the topography.
Van Helmont (1578-1644) was a man of noble family in Brussels, who, after mastering all other branches of learning as then understood, devoted himself with enthusiasm to medicine and chemistry.
The question of the mastering of this all-important lower waterway in the event of a contest with the Turks had indeed engaged the close attention of British naval and military experts some years earlier.