Yeah, exactly. De Valera didn't join the delegates for the negotiations because he knew there was no chance that the British would grant the 32 county republic. He knew he would commit political suicide if he signed it.
The delegates were way too inexperienced. Collins used to get trapped, and he didnt realize because he just wasn't experienced enough. It was he who should have stayed in Ireland as a threat, and De Valera should have went to negotiate. Sir Lloyd George had said De Valera was VERY tough to negotiate with. Hell, on the british negotiating team was the prime minister, Lloyd George, obviously very experienced. Winston Churchill who was a very intelligent man and had a way for manipulating people with words. And Lord Birkenhead who was also very intelligent.
Michael Collins did get a very bad wrap. At the end of the day, the Free State was all they were going to get, at that point. And the ones that complained the most, De Valera and Cathal Brugha, were the very ones who refused to go to negotiate.
It all came down to De Valera's and Brugha's jealousy of Collins, though. When De Valera went to the United States in what proved to be a failed trip (and he left when the war v the black and tans and auxiliaries really begun, coincidence huh?). And then when he came back, Collins was running everything. De Valera wasn't very military smart and wasnt a fan of guerilla warfare, and felt that conventional warfare should be the tactics of the IRA. Collins knew that with the ammo and men they had, guerilla warfare was the only tactics that would work. When they did an attack by De Valera's thoughts, there was a great loss of life. I dont remember exactly how many, I'll get back on that one. And Brugha was always jealous that the minister for finance overshadow the apparent more "prominent" minster for defence.
But I'm ranting, I could talk about this all day, it's one of my favourite times in history.