CABAL (through the Fr. cabale from the Cabbala or Kabbalah, the theosophical interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures), a private organization or party engaged in secret intrigues, and applied also to the intrigues themselves. The word came into common usage in English during the reign of Charles II. to describe the committee of the privy council known as the "Committee for Foreign Affairs," which developed into the cabinet. The invidious meaning attached to the term was stereotyped by the coincidence that the initial letters of the names of the five ministers, Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale, who signed the treaty of alliance with France in 1673, spelled cabal.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)