On the death of Rohan the French knights disagreed as to the selection of his successor, and a minority were able to elect, in 1797, a German of weak character, Ferdinand Hompesch, as the last Grand Master to rule in Malta.
The laws of Justinian are still the basis of the common law, the Code of Rohan is not altogether abrogated, and considerable weight is still given to the Roman Canon Law.
A little while later Rohan came to negotiate the purchase of the famous necklace for the 1,600,000 livres, payable in instalments.
He was insulted by the chevalier de Rohan, replied with his usual sharpness of tongue, and shortly afterwards, when dining with the duke of Sully, was called out and bastinadoed by the chavelier's hirelings, Rohan himself looking on.
It is generally believed that Marie Antoinette was stainless in the matter, that Rohan was an innocent dupe, and that the Lamottes deceived both for their own ends.
This was the beginning of a pretended correspondence between Rohan and the queen, the adventuress duly returning replies to Rohan's notes, which she affirmed to come from the queen.
Madame de Lamotte had told the cardinal that Marie Antoinette would make him a sign to indicate her thanks, and Rohan believed that she did make him a sign.
The police set to work to find all her accomplices, and arrested the girl Oliva and a certain Reteaux de Villette, a friend of the countess, who confessed that he had written the letters given to Rohan in the queen's name, and had imitated her signature on the conditions of the bargain.