He developed four well-defined characters in the process - a country farmer, Ezekiel Biglow, and his son Hosea; the Rev. Homer Wilbur, a shrewd old-fashioned country minister; and Birdofredum Sawin, a Northern renegade who enters the army, together with one or two subordinate characters; and his stinging satire and sly humour are so set forth in the vernacular of New England as to give at once a historic dignity to this form of speech.
He " had woven," according to an often quoted phrase of Goethe, " a certain sly element of irony into his method;.
As, in Fenelon's own opinion, the great merit of Homer was his "amiable simplicity," so the great merit of Telemaque is the art that gives to each adventure its hidden moral, to each scene some sly reflection on Versailles.
Isla's gifts were first shown in his Triunfo del amor y de la lealtad: Dia Grande de Navarra, a satirical description of the ceremonies at Pamplona in honour of Ferdinand VI.'s accession; its sly humour so far escaped the victims that they thanked the writer for his appreciation of their local efforts, but the true significance of the work was discovered shortly afterwards, and the protests were so violent that Isla was transferred by his superiors to another district.