Esek Hopkins (1718-1802), first commander of the American Navy, was a Revolutionary patriot whose abilities were not equal to his important task. A call from the Continental Congress, where his brother was chairman of the naval committee, induced him to accept the command (Dec. 22, 1775) of the first Continental fleet. When H. M. S. Diamond ran aground on the Rhode Island coast and the sluggish Commodore Hopkins lost this excellent chance to destroy it, the officers of his own flag-ship petitioned the Marine Committee to remove him from office. Hopkins had already been indiscrete in criticizing both Congress and some of his subordinates. Therefore Congress in March 1777 suspended Hopkins and soon afterward dismissed him from the Navy.