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CABAL (TREATY OF ALLIANCE)

Here is a famous historical mnemonic for remembering the names of Charles II's ministers who secretly signed a British treaty with France against Holland in 1672:

" CABAL "

(Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale).

The word "cabal" (meaning "a secret association of intriguers") was popularly applied to Charles II's ministry as a nickname because of the initials of those involved, but it is in fact much older, entering medieval Latin ("cabbala") from the Hebrew word "Kabbalah". The fact that the ministers' initials spelt out the word exactly is thus in fact a pure coincidence.

 

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