What's An Old School CABAL?
So we beat on, boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald
An old school Cabal, is defined in Wiki as:
"...number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in church or state by intrigue. Cabals are secret organizations composed of a few designing persons; a political cabal is often called a junta. The term can also be used to refer to the designs of such persons. The term also holds a general meaning of intrigue and conspiracy. Its usage carries strong connotations of shadowy corners and occult influence; a cabal is more evil and selective than, say, a faction, which is simply selfish."
No wonder everyone is looking for a cabal.Isn't that the kind of material that most people find interesting in both history and fiction?
Those who form a cabal and those who look for a cabal are probably of like minds. Two sides of the same coin? Thomas Friedman never used the C word, but he has described one, in so many words, in past columns. He didn't seem to think it was so bad. Powell's former Chief of Staff, just referred to a Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal, but he thought it was bad. C.A.B.A.L's modern political meaning originates with these five Brits:
Clifford Sir Thomas Clifford, 1st Baron Clifford of Chudleigh
Arlington Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington
Buckingham George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
Ashley Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
Lauderdale John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale
Charles ll had all five of these men serve as his ministers.
For the record, our favorite is the Duke of Lauderdale; his portrait, which is on his link, reveals a man as suspicious looking and full of intrigue as one can possibly imagine.
The sly looking Lauderdale almost makes Ahmed "heroes in error" Chalabi look like the picture of innocence, if only by comparison. Charles ll, looks like a Machiavel too. They all played for keeps, no doubt.
In large part, due to the spelling of their names, they became know, somewhat unfairly, as the "Cabal Ministry."
The Cabal Ministry did not sign onto the very public Project for a New American Century, rather the very secret "Treaty of Dover."
The "Cabal Ministry" did not have an "Office of Special Plans" or a "White House Iraq Group" (WHIG), rather they had something called "The Committee for Foreign Affairs." Equally plain sounding. What's in a name? The French Revolution begat the "Committee For Public Safety." Maybe the PATRIOT act sounds too much to worry much.
The 'Secret Treaty of Dover' required France to assist England in her attempt to rejoin the Roman Catholic fold, whilst mandating England assist France in her conquest of the Dutch Republic.
Why would the enemies of France want an alliance with France? France was rising at Spain's expense.
The irony is that it really was not much of Cabal - just sounded like one. Now, according to Powell's pal, we may have a cabal, but no one can really figure out what it is. Everyone has a different idea who or what the cabal is.
Here's the relevant political -related definition of Cabal in the 1989 Second Edition O.E.D.:
CABAL (OED) 6. Applied in the reign of Charles II to the small committee or junto of the Privy Council, otherwise called the ÂCommittee for Foreign AffairsÂ, which had the chief management of the course of government, and was the precursor of the modern cabinet. 1665 PEPYS Diary 14 Oct., It being read before the King, Duke, and the Caball, with complete applause. 1667 Ibid. 31 Mar., Walked to my Lord Treasurer's, where the King, Duke of York, and the Cabal, and much company withal. 1667 Ibid. (1877) V. 128 The Cabal at present, being as he says the King, and the Duke of Buckingham, and Lord Keeper, the Duke of Albemarle and privy seale.b. in Hist. applied spec. to the five ministers of Charles II, who signed the Treaty of Alliance with France for war against Holland in 1672: these were Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley (Earl of Shaftesbury), and Lauderdale, the initials of whose names thus arranged chanced to spell the word cabal.This was merely a witticism referring to sense 6; in point of fact these five men did not constitute the whole ÂCabalÂ, or Committee for Foreign Affairs; nor were they so closely united in policy as to constitute a ÂcabalÂ in sense 5, where quot. 1670 shows that three of them belonged to one ÂcabalÂ or clique, and two to another. The name seems to have been first given to the five ministers in the pamphlet of 1673 ÂEngland's Appeal from the private Cabal at White-hall to the Great Council of the nation..by a true lover of his country.Â Modern historians often write loosely of the Buckingham-Arlington administration from the fall of Clarendon in 1667 to 1673 as the Cabal Cabinet or Cabal Ministry. 1673 England's Appeal 18 The safest way not to wrong neither the cabal nor the truth is to take a short survey of the carriage of the chief promoters of this war. 1689 Mem. God's 29 Years Wonders Â§25. 72 The great Ahitophel, the chiefest head-piece..of all the Cabal. 1715 BURNET Own Time (1766) I. 430 This junta..being called the cabal, it was observed that cabal proved a technical word, every letter in it being the first letter of those five, Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington and Lauderdale. a1734 NORTH Exam. III. vi. 41. 453 The..Promoters of Popery, supposed to rise by the Misfortunes of the Earl of Clarendon, were the famous CABAL. 1762 HUME Hist. Eng. (1806) V. lxix. 163 When the Cabal entered into the mysterious alliance with France. 1848 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. (1864) I. 101 It happened by a whimsical coincidence that, in 1671, the Cabinet consisted of five persons the initial letters of whose names made up the word Cabal..These ministers were therefore emphatically called the Cabal; and they soon made that appellation so infamous that it has never since their time been used except as a term of reproach.7. attrib. or in obvious comb. 1673 R. LEIGH Transp. Reh. 36 By this time, the Politick Cabal-men were most of 'um set. 1674 R. LAW Mem. (1818) 61 The parliament was jealous of their caball lords. 1678 Trans Crt. Spain 189 They maintain themselves only by a Cabal-genius, without any foundation of justice or fidelity. 1700 CONGREVE Way of W. I. i, Last night was one of their cabal nights. 1871 W. CHRISTIE Life Shaftesbury II. xii. 81 The heavy indictment of History against the so-called Cabal Ministry.