"this very ship’s crew, though no unfavorable specimens of the nautical brotherhood, had been guilty, as we should phrase it, of depredations on the Spanish commerce"
Poster for Morrison's production of the new romantic melo-drama, The Privateer by Harrison Grey Fiske
Public DomainPoster for Morrison's production of the new romantic melo-drama, The Privateer by Harrison Grey Fiske - Credit: H.C. Milner Litho Co.

This confirms the earlier hints that these roistering seafarers are privateers hired to conduct raids on the Spanish treasure fleets

The Library of Congress has an online exhibition of booty hauled from a Spanish treasure fleet here.

Pirates and privateers were virtually indistinguishable
Public DomainPirates and privateers were virtually indistinguishable - Credit: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris