Julius Groner


In the short though not uneventful life of the British colony of West Florida, major figures came and went with disruptive frequency. Three royal governors and two lieutenant governors headed the resident administration of the colony in eighteen years, but all of them enjoyed the administrative stability provided in London by the royal agent for West Florida, John Ellis. For a dozen years this distinguished scientist and modest bureaucrat presided over the parliamentary grant upon which West Florida depended and disbursed its funds in such a judicious manner as to restrain gubernatorial fiscal exuberance, maintain necessary public functions, and satisfy probing Treasury scrutiny at the end of his service. Only recently have historians grudgingly admitted the importance of such men and their work, and only recently has the scope of John Ellis’s career been thoroughly investigated. A clarification of certain details of his life and a demonstration of his intimate connection with the affairs of West Florida will correct the record and add new dimensions to the colonial scene.