5 MAY 1923, Page 3

Mr. De Valera has produced a masterpiece of casuistry of

which any mediaeval lawyer might be proud. His proclamation of suggested terms, which- was published last Saturday, is- a crowning triumph of unintelligibility. The terms are -worded in such a way that anyone could accept them without loss of honour ; and yet it would be small reproach to the intellect of him who made peace on such terms if he found afterwards that he had surrendered unconditionally.- Unless the Free State Government can count among its members several philologists and logicians, the prospects of the .proclama- tion being even seriously discussed are small. The- general meaning seems to be that Mr. De Valera knows- that the Republicans are beaten. But he still refuses to acknowledge what he knows. He harps on about full sovereignty and so forth—in fact tries to go back to the position from which he was driven long ago. The man who in one breath says that he wants to give in and dictates terms of victory is either mad or incom- petent to the verge of madness, and the wonder is that anyone should be found still to follow him—if anybody does.