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 Charles II ruled with the Ministry of the Cabal from 1669 to 1674.
Charles II ruled with the Ministry of the Cabal from 1669 to 1674.

A cabal is a form of conspiracy by a group of people united around a secret project to conspire for the success of their opinions and interests within a state or community.

The word cabal appears first in England in the reign of Jacques I and Charles I to denote an esoteric doctrine or a secret. The word itself derives from the Hebrew word Kabbalah, the mystical and esoteric interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.

From the seventeenth century, the word spreads in political circles: Important cabal of France, Ministry of the Cabal in England.


We mostly used this expression in theater to describe a plot formed in order to get a work or an actor. It was also sometimes applied to a league whose goal is instead to applaud excessive.

It is a cabal, a sign of Richelieu, began to attack Cid of Corneille and began by writing Scudery entitled Critical Observations on the Cid (1637). Asked to give its opinion, the French Academy censured the room well, but the cardinal was not yet unsatisfied, because praise mingled with criticism of the poet. The failure of this cabal of great literary body in the service of omnipotent minister did that better highlight the triumph of Corneille:

In vain against the Cid a minister league
Paris has everything to Chimene eyes Rodrigue;
The Academy has beautiful body censor,
The public revolted persists to admire.

Racine''s Phaedra, the victim of a conspiracy.
Racine”s Phaedra, the victim of a conspiracy.

Another very famous cabal seventeenth century is mounted against Racine”s Phaedra, which was headed by the Duchess de Bouillon, Duke of Nevers and Antoinette The Houlières. Having known in advance the subject on which Racine worked, they pushed Pradon to treat its side. Pradon made Phaedra and Hippolytus in three months and the two parts appeared two days apart, 1 and 3 January 1677, one of the theater of the Hotel de Bourgogne, the other on the street theater Guénégaud . Duchess of Bouillon rented for the first six lodges representations of two theaters left empty those of the Hotel de Bourgogne, to believe in the fall of Racine”s Phaedra, while the whole cabal filled the room Guénégaud of applause . First deceived by this maneuver, the public was not slow to treat the two parts according to their merits and there remained to Pradon the consolation of imaginary blame a cabal of his final failure.

Kabbalah devotees tried to sabotage some plays by Molière considered too daring. The technique was to fill the room of spectators cabal acquired during the first performances, which are all (sounds, whistles, laughter, etc.) to prevent the public from enjoying the room. If cabal working properly, the room discredited only very little time to appear, which is the desired form of censorship by the Kabbalists.

In the eighteenth century, there existed a conspiracy charge powerful applaud the works of Voltaire, and sometimes whistling those of his opponents or rivals. Thiriot and the Marquis de Villette made it part, but she was active in the Knights of leaders and Mouhy The Morlière. Mouhy “to pity poor and ugly scare” Voltaire received two hundred pounds a year to support his theater pieces and give him some other services. The Morlière, which ended, as the previous fall into contempt, began imposing tone with half gentleman, half man of letters. It is not known how many went compensation he received, or friends of Voltaire, from Voltaire himself. He had his headquarters there and the Cafe Procope recruited his troop, composed of volunteers and bribed. He announced beforehand the success or downfall of coin we would play, and during the performance, he gave the signal for applause or murmurs. Tyranny eventually have on everything seemed to theater, there was no actor or actress, for her debut, and not dreaded cherchât to reconcile the cabal Morlière.

Under the reign of Louis XVI, two famous cabals divided the court and the city, and that of Gluckists Piccinists. While on the music writers who took part and published writings on both sides dispute also went the literary and musical: the side of Gluck were Suard, Father Arnaud, the bailiff of Roullet; side Piccini were ranged Marmontel, Jean-François de La Harpe, Ginguené, D”alembert. These were two parties rather than two cabals because they acted openly, and clean the cabal is to weave in the darkness like a conspiracy, but below the leaders who openly attacked and visor discovery, there were soldiers who employed laborers diverted and transformed the parties cabals.

Among the cabals that arose at various times against players whose reputation has survived, there is still one which, for seventeen months, the beginnings of prolonged Lekain. Most of the actors themselves favored and made come from Bordeaux Bellecourt for the purpose of opposing him. This painful situation eventually word of Louis XV, who came to see him in Orosmane: “It made me cry, I get it. “The memories of the theater are full details on the cabals who supported or Mademoiselle Clairon, or Mademoiselle Dumesnil. Talma had to suffer repeatedly Kabbalah: first, in its beginnings, when he attempted reform by Lekain suit already tried almost all the audience turned against him, repeating the words of Louise Contat: “Look Talma, it is ridiculous! It looks like an antique statue. “Then, in 1795, when its success outside the Comédie-French hatred excited against him, he was accused by a portion of the public during the Terror persecuting his former comrades, and they wanted to force him to make amends . He appeased the tumult vehemently saying: “Citizens, all my friends are dead on the scaffold! ”

 His attempt to reform the suit Talma earned a cabal.
His attempt to reform the suit Talma earned a cabal.

At the time of the Empire, a large cabal, driven by passion, the false shining and the external qualities of Pierre Lafon, long tried to oppose Talma and even place it above him. Around the same time, two other cabals, one against Catherine Josephine Duchesnois, the other against Mademoiselle George, brought the French theater of violent scenes. Miss Duchesnois had to start with a bang, but a less favorable external and without majesty, it was very difficult to fight against the splendid beauty of Mademoiselle George, that he opposed almost immediately after its debut, and supported the critical Geoffroy, then in all its power. The departure of the latter for Russia, in 1808, put an end to this rivalry and these cabals.

We can apply the same thinking to ways of acting school romantic and classic in the great struggles around 1830 brought fight scenes in theater and grotesque demonstrations against Racine at home. Then, the cabals of a certain period found themselves in provincial theaters, where the audience was largely the same each day. In Paris, where there was like before an audience of regulars, where the audience changes every night, while the display remained unchanged, these kinds of conspiracies could not hardly warping. Sometimes, however, the competing interests, passions, political or religious beliefs rarely literary cabals gave birth ephemeral, which whistles were silent after a few evenings. As the applause, they left most of the cabal, but peculiar institution called the slap.

It has sometimes given the name intrigues literary parties formed the French Academy, or the world of the Academy, to bring the election of a candidate that the merit of his works is not enough to succeed. This led, at all times, succumbed applications from distinguished writers and poets before giving a cabal most politicians. It is also among the literati associations of mutual admiration, chapels which exclusively reserve their praises certain personalities, certain works and which is best called coteries.

The word is enough to the fashion in Europe for the playwright Friedrich von Schiller used in the title of one of his pieces, Cabal and Love (or Intrigue and Love), German Kabale und Liebe (1783).

In 1777, during the American Revolution broke out in America an alleged plot, the Conway Cabal. A series of critics question the competence of military chief General George Washington, but there is little solid evidence to conclude the existence of a genuine plot to discredit him.

Materials translated and adapted by Nicolae Sfetcu from the Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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