This bad beginning served, as is usual in such adventures, rather to widen than to reconcile the differences which had early begun to manifest themselves between the leader and his followers. Hume and Cochrane, partly construing, perhaps too sanguinely, the intelligence which was received from Ayrshire, Galloway, and the other Lowland districts in that quarter, partly from an expectation that where the oppression had been most grievous, the revolt would be proportionably the more general, were against any stay, or, as they termed it, loss of time in the Highlands, but were for proceeding at once, weak as they were in point of numbers, to a country where every man endowed with the common feelings of human nature must be their well-wisher, every man of spirit their coadjutor. Argyle, on the contrary, who probably considered the discouraging accounts from the Lowlands as positive and distinct, while those which were deemed more favourable appeared to him to be at least uncertain and provisional, thought the most prudent plan was to strengthen himself in his own country before he attempted the invasion of provinces where the enemy was so well prepared to receive him. He had hopes of gaining time, not only to increase his own army, but to avail himself of the Duke of Monmouth's intended invasion of England, an event which must obviously have great influence upon his affairs, and which, if he could but maintain himself in a situation to profit by it, might be productive of advantages of an importance and extent of which no man could presume to calculate the limits. Of these two contrary opinions it may be difficult at this time of day to appreciate the value, seeing that so much depends upon the degree of credit due to the different accounts from the Lowland counties, of which our imperfect information does not enable us to form any accurate judgment. But even though we should not decide absolutely in favour of the cogency of these reasonings which influenced the chief, it must surely be admitted that there was, at least, sufficient probability in them to account for his not immediately giving way to those of his followers, and to rescue his memory from the reproach of any uncommon obstinacy, or of carrying things, as Burnet phrases it, with an air of authority that was not easy to men who were setting up for liberty. On the other hand, it may be more difficult to exculpate the gentlemen engaged with Argyle for not acquiescing more cheerfully, and not entering more cordially into the views of a man whom they had chosen for their leader and general; of whose honour they had no doubt, and whose opinion even those who dissented from him must confess to be formed upon no light or trivial grounds.
The differences upon the general scheme of attack led, of course, to others upon points of detail. Upon every projected expedition there appeared a contrariety of sentiment, which on some occasions produced the most violent disputes. The earl was often thwarted in his plans, and in one instance actually over-ruled by the vote of a council of war. Nor were these divisions, which might of themselves be deemed sufficient to mar an enterprise of this nature, the only adverse circumstances which Argyle had to encounter. By the forward state of preparation on the part of the government, its friends were emboldened; its enemies, whose spirit had been already broken by a long series of sufferings, were completely intimidated, and men of fickle and time-serving dispositions were fixed in its interests. Add to all this, that where spirit was not wanting, it was accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty of persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of liberty, rather to compromise upon some points with those who have in the main the same views with themselves, than to give power (a power which will infallibly be used for their own destruction) to an adversary of principles diametrically opposite; in other words, rather to concede something to a friend, than everything to an enemy. Hence, those even whose situation was the most desperate, who were either wandering about the fields, or seeking refuge in rocks and caverns, from the authorised assassins who were on every side pursuing them, did not all join in Argyle's cause with that frankness and cordiality which was to be expected. The various schisms which had existed among different classes of Presbyterians were still fresh in their memory. Not even the persecution to which they had been in common, and almost indiscriminately subjected, had reunited them. According to a most expressive phrase of an eminent minister of their church, who sincerely lamented their disunion, the furnace had not yet healed the rents and breaches among them. Some doubted whether, short of establishing all the doctrines preached by Cargill and Cameron, there was anything worth contending for; while others, still further gone in enthusiasm, set no value upon liberty, or even life itself, if they were to be preserved by the means of a nobleman who had, as well by his serviced to Charles the Second as by other instances, been guilty in the former parts of his conduct of what they termed unlawful compliances.