In 1775, Colonies in North America rebelled against the British rule. The British government discovered that it had a serious problem. It had the best fleet in the world but it hardly had an army. The British, like other monarchies of that period, decided to solve the problem by hiring mercenaries. And their first choice was to approach Russia.
The British Secretary of State for the North, the earl of Suffolk, cited “the increasing frenzy of His Majesty’s unhappy and deluded people on the other side of the Atlantic” as he asked the Russian Government for assistance and in particular for “20,000 disciplined infantry completely equipped and ready to embark as soon as the Baltic navigation opens in the spring.” In the event, Catherine the Second (Great) turned the British down who, as everyone knows, settled on the Hessians .
The British historian Simon Sebag Montfiore (who is the source for this information) speculates that perhaps, had it been the Russian Cossacks supressing the revolt, the outcome might have been turned out differently.