The preface to this work is signed “F. M. von A. ***” (p. 22), but according to Sladek (1975, 495) the author is Florentius Barth (d. 1800), an Augustinian monk from Laun.
Meine Gedanken is an extended reply to the Einleitung in die christliche Religions- und Kirchen-Geschichte (Prague: Diesbach, 1788; 2nd ed. 1790) by the Prague theologian Kaspar Royko (1744–1819). Royko was an advocate of reformed Catholicism and was critical of the authoritarian nature of papal power. In reply, Barth argues that it was sufficient for legal students to learn of the shortcomings of the papacy through Johann Stephan Pütter’s Teutsche Reichsgeschichte in ihrem Hauptfaden entwickelt (Göttingen: Witwe Vandenhoeck, 1778), without resorting to books like Royko’s that teach them how to blaspheme. Barth compares a student who learns from Pütter’s book to a bullfinch (Gimpel) that is taught how to sing a pretty piece by Mozart. Having the student learn from Royko would be like teaching the bird to imitate the droning of a bagpipe. Although Barth could not have known this, there was a precedent for a bird learning Mozart’s music: Mozart’s pet starling learned the finale theme from the Piano Concerto in G, K. 453 in 1784 (Briefe, iii:317).