For several years after his retirement from office, he devoted himself to his law practice, and in 1856 succeeded James Buchanan as United States minister to England, where he remained until relieved by Charles Francis Adams in May 1861.
In the ensuing election he was defeated by James Buchanan by 174 to 114 electoral votes.
See George Ticknor Curtis, The Life of James Buchanan (2 vols., New York, 1883), the standard biography; Curtis, however, was a close personal and political friend, and his work is too eulogistic. More trustworthy, but at times unduly severe, is the account given by James Ford Rhodes in the first two volumes of his History of the United States since the Compromise of 1850 (New York, new edition, 1902 et seq.).
Marcy, who had ordered American ministers to wear a plain civilian costume), and by joining with James Buchanan and Pierre Soule, ministers to Great Britain and Spain respectively, in drawing up (Oct.
During the following years he was engaged in a long struggle with James Buchanan for party leadership in Pennsylvania.