Martin van Buren was the eighth President of the Unites States, a Democrat and (for a time) ambassador to the court of St. James in London. van Buren was appointed ambassador by President Andrew Jackson in 1831. He immediately travelled to London to take up the post. However 5 months later in February 1832, he learned that his nomination had been rejected by the Senate. He returned to Washington shortly after. Calhoun, the prominent secessionist senator from South Carolina, had been the chief engineer behind this rejection. Calhoun had been at odds with van Buren ever since van Buren had told former Presidential candidate Henry Clay to run on a ticket with William Crawford instead of Calhoun. Of course, aside form this personal difference, their two political ideologies were completely different. van Buren had been one of the chief proponents of the 1828 Tariff Act, which Calhoun saw as an attack on the southern states. Still, the wider moment to reject van Buren’s nomination lay in an action he had taken while Secretary of State. He had instructed then American Minister to Great Britain Louis Mclane on the reopening of the West Indies trade route, an action in contradiction with the foreign policy of Jackson’s predecessors.
While in London van Buren lived at 7 Stratford Place in Marylebone. Today a blue plaque is located at that address.