Francis Dana, 1743–1811, American diplomat, b. Charlestown, Mass. Son of a prominent lawyer, he was himself a lawyer. He went as a colonial agent to England, then served as a delegate to the Massachusetts provincial council (1776–80) and the Continental Congress (1776–78), before accompanying (1779) John Adams on his mission to Paris. In 1780, Dana was sent to Russia. Although he stayed at St. Petersburg for two years (1781–83), he was never recognized or accredited. He later was a justice of the Massachusetts supreme court (1785–1806), becoming chief justice in 1791. Richard Henry Dana (1787–1879) was his son.
See biography by W. P. Cresson (1930).